Ahead of the assembly vote over the sales of Barça Licensing & Merchandise (BLM) and the TV rights next week, Barcelona president Joan Laporta has shed some light on the financial situation that the club currently find themselves in.
The Catalan giants are embroiled in a deep economic crisis which has left them powerless to add new players entering the summer transfer window. Unless they are able to resolve the situation before June 30, the Blaugrana could be staring at another difficult summer like last year.
However, president Laporta has been working towards triggering the ‘economic levers’ that could drag the club out of the muddle. Earlier this month, the Barcelona board met and ratified the sales of a percentage of BLM and the TV rights to bring in investment into the club.
The decisions will be put to vote in an assembly on June 16. And Laporta, in an interview, has stressed on the importance of activating those levers, while highlighting the economic situation of the club.
Talking about how bad the state of affairs was when he took over as president last year, Laporta said: “When we arrived, we could not pay the salaries for the month of May. The economic entities had not received their instalments for 3 months.
“We were almost dead. When we arrived, we managed to revive the club, we restructured the club and its debt.”
The president then vowed that the club would never fall into the hands of a third-party owner and will remain with the socis.
“Faced with this, either the club went bankrupt, or the shareholders injected money, which is not possible for a club like ours. But be sure, the club will never belong to a 3rd party owner. The club will always belong to the socios.”
Speaking about the current situation and the deals that he is working on to help improve the finances, the Barça supremo said: “We are not responsible for the past management. We have these economic deals that are options to improve the economic situation, to remain owners of the club.”
“I can announce that on Thursday, if you vote in favor, we will launch these economic deals. This means that we will have a positive net worth, we will have a normal debt ratio and we will be able to recruit to be competitive,” he added.
Further elaborating on the topic, Laporta said: “This will allow us to become competitive again against state owned clubs or with wealthy owners. It is fundamental to remain competitive.”
The president insisted that the club had become much stronger during the one year under his administration and can rectify the current situation if the two deals are approved.
“One year after our return, I tell you. Barça is strong. The club has enormous strength to attract capital, investors maintaining our ownership model. If the socios allow us to activate these two economic deals, we’ll be fine,” he said.
“We will explain the 2 economic deals. We have to finish the year in the positive margin.”
Laporta also added that the deals would be arranged in such a way that Barcelona have the option of buying back the rights in the future when the financial situation is healthy again.
“These deals will be signed not just for the sake of it. There will be options for us to buy these back as well. They will be done with organisations that are known to us well,” he said.
The president also spoke about the Espai Barça project during the interview, claiming that there had been slight changes to the plans due to the Ukraine war. But he insisted that work will begin at Camp Nou from this summer.
“Work will begin this summer at the Camp Nou. It is a project that will change everything. We had to change some things with Espai Barça because of Ukraine, the war has increased the price of raw materials,” he said.
Laporta also confirmed that fans can attend games at full capacity for the upcoming campaign at Camp Nou despite the work starting. The club will shift their base for the 2023/24 season to Montjuic, before returning to Camp Nou for the 2024/25 campaign.
“Next season, 100% of the fans will be able to enter the club. In 2023-24, in Montjuic and then in 24-25 back to the Camp Nou,” Laporta said.
“We already have the financing for the start of the Espai Barça and the works in and around the stadium for next season. We will pay back the Espai Barça with our additional income that this project will bring,” he added.