Barcelona record £409m losses for 2020/21 season as CEO explains Super League support
Barcelona present accounts for the end of the 2020-21 financial year, with losses of €481m (£409m); revenue dropped by 26 per cent with the club citing the Covid-19 pandemic as a primary reason; CEO Ferran Reverter says the club supported the Super League due to FFP concern
In August, Barcelona president Joan Laporta opened up on the “very worrying” financial situation when revealing the club are €1.35bn (£1.15bn) in debt.
A summary of their accounts at the closure of the 2020-21 season shows the club recorded a 26 per cent, €224m (£191m), drop in revenue from the previous year, citing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic as a primary reason.
Barcelona said the estimated impact of Covid-19 is €181m (£154m), mainly due to the inability to open both the stadium and other club facilities.
Operating expenses increased by 19 per cent to €1.136bn (£967m), an all-time record figure at the club, while transfer income was €56m (£48m), a decrease of €92m (£78m).
“Laporta essentially reconfirmed they had €1.3bn in debt, and explained the reasons they got to that point. There are many reasons, but the most important are that they overspent on contracts, they overspent on salary raises, overspent on club management, on singings, and they made singings when they didn’t even have money, like Antoine Griezmann for example.
“On top of that they were paying for things on credit, so they would go to banks and ask for about €100m on a loan, and they would also do this without passing it through the general assembly, which is where the members of the club would vote on these.
“According to Laporta, they were all improvised, there was no financial planning, and in fact had they been a business, they’d have been in the red and would have had to file for bankruptcy, and would have been dissolved.
“But because this is Barcelona, as soon as this new board came in, they refinanced the whole project, and have tried to turn things around, cutting costs wherever they can. It’s going to take them a while to sort it out.”
Barcelona’s CEO has said the club supported the European Super League to enforce tighter financial controls on teams as UEFA’s financial fair play (FFP) model plays into the hands of state-backed clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City
UEFA launched the FFP regulations in 2009 to aim to stop clubs running big losses through spending on players although the organisation relaxed the rules following the COVID-19 pandemic, removing the obligation to break even.
The rules came under scrutiny following Qatari-backed PSG’s transfer activities last summer, in which they signed Barca’s all-time top scorer Lionel Messi as well as Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Georginio Wijnaldum on free transfers while paying huge wages to beat their rivals to the players.
Abu Dhabi-controlled City, meanwhile, paid a Premier League record £100m to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa.
Debt-ridden Barca, by contrast, were forced to slash their wage bill this summer due to La Liga’s far stricter financial regulations. They have been allocated a maximum budget of €98m (£83m) for this season, a huge drop from €347m (£295m) last campaign.