Barcelona chief executive Ferrero-Waldner said on Wednesday that the club was “technically bankrupt” when John Laporta took over as president in March, and would have “dissolved” if it had been a public limited company.
The Spanish giant’s financial woes were exposed in August when he was forced to allow Lionel Messi to join Paris Saint-Germain after admitting he could not be named World Player of the Year six more times.
The new board inherited a debt of 1.35 billion euros (6 1.56 billion) and returned to Lipporta for a second spell as president following the resignation of Jupiter Maria Bartomeu.
“If the club had been PLC (a public limited company), it would have been dissolved,” Reuters revealed at a news conference in which it outlined the results of the audit of accountancy group Deloitte.
“In March 2021, we were in a state of technical bankruptcy, but as a sports association we were able to refinance loans,” Reuters explained, due to “almost zero cash flow.” The club had “difficulties in paying salaries” since.
To close the club in the short term, officials took out a temporary loan of 80 million euros (92 92 million) “to meet the treasury’s obligations for a period of 90 days”, and to repay a loan of 595 million euros. Paid
Barcelona have confirmed a loss of 481 million euros last season, which was more than the club expected.
According to Reuters, the audit, which studied the club’s finances from 2018/19 to March 2021, revealed that there were “severe management shortcomings” and that the directors “bought players out of reality”.
Bartomeu was forced to resign following mounting pressure from fans over his desire to leave the Argentine club and his people with Messi.
“When he was signing the players, no one thought he could pay for them. That night (Antonin) Griezmann signed, he realized he didn’t have the money, and he We will have to ask for more funds. “
Griezmann left for Atletico Madrid on loan earlier this season.
Between 2016 and 2020, Barca’s wage bill increased by 61%, from 471 million euros to 759 million euros. Since then, the new administration has cut 155 million.
Reuters also pointed to unusual rates of commission paid to intermediaries involved in the transfer of players “between 20 and 30 per cent”.
Despite the club’s financial struggles, Barca hope to end the season with a profit of five million euros.