CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – Why did Barça still fall through the cracks of financial fair play?
« Some clubs have a debt of 1.8 billion euros, it’s not healthy. Thank God, what we are doing is having zero debt. Of course, we lost money during the Covid but we have nothing to hide. Other clubs have big debts. And that’s the risk, the danger for football“, notably launched Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, Monday during the Football Talks conference taken over by RMC. The Parisian president is embittered. And that can be understood.
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While the three residents of L1 will have to be good students by respecting a recovery plan over three seasons – otherwise they will have to go back to the cash register, and not just a little (65 million for PSG and 2 million euros for OM and ASM) – FC Barcelona can continue its activities quietly. UEFA certainly asked him for additional information. But otherwise, the Catalan club can rub their hands and wait with envy for this new European season, where the Blaugrana will want to wash away the affront of the last exercise with their early exit from the group stage of the Champions League.
A simple reason explains it: « The Covid pandemic »
However, we are talking about a club which was in debt to the tune of 1.35 billion euros and which had to part with Lionel Messi in August 2021, even if the Blaugrana are in fifth place among the football clubs which generate the most revenue in 2020-2021 according to Deloitte (582 million). From a formation which has found a way to be one of the great leaders of the transfer market with more than 150 million injected into the transfer window this summer to enlist world-class players, like Robert Lewandowski. But this is not a concern in the eyes of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB).
So why ? « For a simple reason: the Covid pandemicanswers Ivan Cabeza, Spanish specialist in sports economics and managing partner at Laudem Partners. Barça was able to prove that its deficit was due to the Covid. However, UEFA allowed to deduct for the calculation of the ratio, the losses coming directly from the CovidAware of the impact of the crisis linked to Covid, the European body has indeed relaxed for 2020-21 and 2021-22 its rule requiring clubs involved in continental competitions not to exceed 30 million euros. cumulative deficit over three seasons.
Above all, Joan Laporta, the Blaugrana president, succeeded in his summer sleight of hand brilliantly. With the sale of assets and new sponsors, Barca have cleaned up their financial situation. The sale of part of the income from La Liga TV rights to the American investment fund Sixth Street, the sale of 25% of the shares of Barça Studios or even the sponsorship contract signed with Spotify have made it possible to record a nice bonanza in the blaugrana accounts and thus to meet the requirements of La Liga in order to register all its new recruits. « With the sale of assets during the summer, with a profit of about 800 million, the situation was resolved. The club was able to restructure its balance sheet in a normal waythe », says Ivan Cabeza.
According to the Madrid daily Marca, UEFA is however wondering about these famous levers put in place by Barça. And would wonder if this can stick with the new reforms that the body wishes to put in place for its financial policeman. « It’s not a real concern. The approximately 800 million in profits recovered change everything for the future« , however sweeps aside the Spanish economist, who from time to time looks at the situation of Barça for El Confidential or El Mundo. Clearly if the Catalan club may have bet big for its future by activating these levers, Barça have no reason to worry about financial fair play at the moment.
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