May 12, 2022

a “disastrous situation”, “a debt of 1.3 billion euros”… What to remember from the results of the audit on the finances of the club

A host of implausible figures and serious legal attacks. FC Barcelona chose to wash their dirty laundry in public and scrub hard. The new management, around Joan Laporta, presented on Tuesday February 1 its investigation into the situation of the club at the end of the mandate of Josep Bartomeu, who resigned on October 27, 2020.

This “exercise of responsibility“, as Laporta called it, comes four days after the opening of an investigation by the Spanish courts, and depicts a Catalan club in the grip of a particularly serious situation.”Reality surpassed everything we imagined, the situation was dire” he assured.

Alarming figures confirmed

The economic vice-president, Eduard Romeu, gave more details on the financial situation. “We have a debt of 1.3 billion euros“, he began before listing the various causes of this debt, between salaries still to be paid (389 million euros) or even 80 million euros of litigation that Barça does not see turning in his favor. .

In the last two seasons we have lost 600 million and only 135 correspond to the consequences of Covid-19“, continued Eduard Romeu. The leader pointed to two files”burning” : “Short-term debts are a first fire, then we have another problem, there is no more cash.“After the first three months without having to pay this debt, the new management of the club explained that they had to take out a new loan to repay the slates found on their arrival.

Barça overpaid their players… and their agents

Thanks to the efforts of several locker room executives (Piqué, Busquets or Alba in particular) but also the departure of Lionel Messi to PSG, the club was able to save 159 million euros on its payroll in ten months. For President Joan Laporta, Barça lived largely above the market. “The club’s wage bill was 40% higher than the average of our competitors“, he blurted out. “We have overpaid salaries in a way that is not sustainable. What is difficult is that we had to renegotiate with the players.

As a corollary to these XXL salaries, the Catalan club then struggled to part with its departing players, the buying clubs being unable to match these salaries. In addition, Jaume Campaner, lawyer in charge of the audit, denounced the commissions offered to intermediaries during transfers. If they “are usually close to 5%”, “commissions of 33% were detected”. “A company was born in particular only to invoice FC Barcelona. Ten million commissions were paid after the closing of the signing of a player, said Jaume Campaner.

“Unjustified”, “embezzlement”, “falsification” payments

Joan Laporta and Jaume Campaner have exposed the list of irregularities discovered during this internal investigation, requested by the new management team, and which could give rise to the next great judicial soap opera in the world of football. In addition to salaries and commissions, certain payments have been qualified “unjustifiedby the attorney of the case, who spoke of “unfair administration” and of “diversion“.

Jaume Campaner mentioned a transaction which had already reacted to its formalization: the financial arrangement around the exchange between Miralem Pjanic and Arthur, with Juventus Turin in 2020. While an investigation has already been opened in Italy, Jaume Campaner speaks of a “deliberate sprain“regarding the real value of the two players.”This results in artificial accounting advantages. It is an offense of accounting falsification.

The lawyer also advanced facts of embezzlement, including a sum of 15 million euros paid to a club for “simulating a right of first refusal that has nothing to do with reality“. Joan Laporta has outbid, ensuring that expenses have been hidden from the club’s internal control bodies. “What we have denounced are indisputable facts, pointless, disproportionate payment transactions”. From now on, “The prosecutor’s office must determine: whether these behaviors are a crime.“FC Barcelona have assured that the full documents, a thick pile presented on a table during the press conference, have been sent to justice.

“Grotesque behavior”, the former bosses of Barça attacked from all sides

If the lawyer Jaume Campaner explained that the audit and its presentation were not intended to “qualify the management of the previous management as better or worse“, the specter of the Bartomeu years floated during the hour and a half of the conference. “This burden they left us is very heavy and someone has to take responsibility, but it will not be solved by anyone but ourselves., said President Joan Laporta. We have no connection with these events and do not want to be held responsible for them. I have no interest in anyone getting hurt, but they will have to answer for their actions if they have committed crimes.”

“We made this investigation because the members of the club have the right to know the actions which led to its ruin, and because we do not want to be complicit in these actions.“at-il conclu. Laporta.