June 14th, 2024 | 4:51


Nico Williams observes that Barça cannot pay the payroll

Jesus Carames

May 19, 2024 | 4:34 p.m.

Last week's speculation about the impossibility of paying footballers' salaries seems to be confirmed

The economic management of FC Barcelona under the presidency of Joan Laporta is marked by the liquidity demands derived from the year's deficit and debt maturities in a context of opaque, personalistic and highly improvised management. To face these challenges and ensure the necessary liquidity, the club has begun to negotiate a new loan that could reach 100 million euros.

A crucial loan for the economic survival of Barça

The final volume of the loan will depend on the result of the negotiations with Nike, the sports brand that sponsors the club's equipment. FC Barcelona aspires to achieve an average income of a minimum of 100 million annually, plus additional amounts depending on results and progress in major competitions. In exchange, Nike wants to extend the duration of the new contract to at least ten years, starting in 2028, when the current one expires.

These conversations include a bonus of up to 100 million for the signing, which the Barça board could apply to the accounts for this year 2024, compensating for almost the entire operating deficit. This deficit, which was already expected in the budgets to be at least 59 million, has widened throughout the season.

The impact of sports results on club income

The poor campaigns in the Champions League have reduced Nike's income to 55 million, 10 million less than in 2023. The bonus would widely compensate for this decrease in income, which is a direct consequence of the poor sporting performance of the men's first team. If the team had qualified for the Champions League semi-finals, revenue would have grown accordingly, instead of falling. In any case, the contract improvement will also include clauses linking income to sports results.

Nike's special bonus could improve Barça's financial fair play, the regulation that La Liga imposes on clubs to match their investments in improving their sports staff to the financial solvency of their accounts. Laporta's great dream, having a checkbook to move the market, would be closer.

Treasury investigation and problems with the guarantee

The Tax Agency is investigating the movements of the bank account that Joan Laporta's board used to cover the expenses of the guarantee that he had to present before assuming the presidency of Barça. According to the newspaper Ara, the new board requested the guarantee from Banc Sabadell, which granted it for an amount of 124 million euros, with an annual interest rate of 2%. The expenses of the guarantee are borne by the directors and in no case can they be assumed by the club.

To make the payments, the directors set up a solidarity account that covered the payments to the bank thanks to three large deposits, according to El Periódico. The most striking, for 350.000 euros, was ordered by the company ISL Futbol Limited Liability Company, a US company controlled by two Catalans, Àlex Isern and Marc Segarra. This company is a supplier to the club, which casts shadows of incompatibility on the payment to the directors.

The uncertain future of Barça Studios (Barça Media)

There is still a big problem to solve. Neither the improvement of the contract with Nike nor the bank credit would compensate for the possible failure of the Barça Studios project, renamed Barça Media to go public. This project has been blocked due to lack of funds for almost a year and has no known reactivation date.

In June, the club should receive 100 million to subscribe 49% of the capital of this subsidiary. An important part, 40 million, should have already been entered at the end of last year. But the investor, the Libero company, has not made the disbursement. The club assures that it has already sued Libero in court.

Joan Laporta and his team have been looking for a new partner to take over from Libero. Although it is claimed that there are many interested investors, the announcement has not been made and time is running out, as the accounts close in June.

The possible financial consequences

If at the end of the current year, on June 30, Libero does not pay or a substitute investor does not appear, Barça would have to reconvert those 400 million recorded in last year's accounts into losses, which would place it in an unaffordable accounting asset situation. . In addition, it would reduce their financial fair play for signings.

In conclusion, Joan Laporta's financial management at FC Barcelona faces multiple challenges. Negotiations with Nike and the search for a new partner for Barça Media are crucial for the club's financial stability. The resolution of these problems will determine Barça's financial future and its ability to compete at the highest level.

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