Barcelona’s financial difficulties have been a regular feature of news and sports headlines over the past 18 months, with a ridiculous number of plot twists. Moreover, Barcelona’s financial difficulties are entirely self-inflicted. They have dropped some absurd transfer fees and handed out large contracts with little regard for the implications in recent years.
Further, Barcelona’s laissez-faire attitude toward player wages, on the other hand, has been a crucial contributor in causing the situation. The eye-watering contracts they offered Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Lionel Messi, and even some periphery players were debilitating, in addition to the deals, those aforementioned acquisitions penned.
In addition, although Barcelona had been run badly previous to March 2020, the coronavirus outbreak brought their problems to a climax. It not only took away their gate receipts, but it also put a stop to the city’s football tourism sector. In the immediate aftermath of the epidemic, the players quickly agreed to a temporary wage decrease of 70%. They further stated that if necessary, they would forsake even more of their wages.
Additionally, after a promising start, the board’s and players’ relationship deteriorated throughout the summer. The initial pay reduction deal expired when Europe recovered from the first wave of the pandemic and La Liga resumed play. Moreover, then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu wanted to impose another wage decrease, but the players flatly refused. This kicked off a summer of the board attempting to negotiate salary reductions and, for the most part, failing badly.
Further, Barcelona had to find alternative ways to juggle its finances as pay cuts failed to bear fruit. Nelson Semedo, Rafinha, and Ivan Rakitic were all released during the summer transfer window of 2020. Luis Suarez was also sold to Atletico Madrid, transforming Los Rojiblancos into La Liga champions.
Moreover, it was Arthur Melo and Miralem Pjanic who were involved in the strangest bargain of all. The deal’s mechanics are just too complicated to go over in detail here. All you know is that the transfer took place so that both teams could put their financial issues on hold for another year.
Adding further, the bulk of Barcelona’s players were adamantly opposed to any salary cut when the 2020-21 season began. As a result, their teammates were enraged when Frenkie de Jong, Clement Lenglet, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, and Gerard Pique secretly signed new contracts that included wage cuts.
However, this was far from the end of the narrative. Bartomeu, who has been heavily chastised, announced his departure after failing to reach comparable agreements with senior players. It was the epitome of the phrase “jump before you’re pushed.”
Moreover, even though Barcelona’s condition has been alarming for some time, there was always the hope that a club of their stature would be able to find a way out. That belief began to shift in October 2020, when rumors surfaced saying that Barça was on the verge of bankruptcy unless the problem was resolved.
However, remember, this was after Bartomeu had departed and some wage deferrals had already been disclosed. Moreover, Bartomeu was arrested in a police operation dubbed ‘Barçagate’ by the media a few months after announcing his departure. The probe is currently focused on allegations that the former president paid a public relations firm to smear the reputations of prominent Barcelona players on social media.
In August 2021, Barça was obliged to announce that a new contract would not be possible, with Messi tendering a tearful farewell to the club he joined as a child. He flew to Paris, France, to join PSG. Moreover, Gerard Pique, for example, saved the club’s bacon by accepting a pay cut. This made room on the payroll for Depay and Garcia to join the team. It’s still unclear exactly how.
However, Aguero has yet to be registered. Ironically, the hero of the hour nodded home Depay’s free kick in Barça’s opening-day victory over Real Sociedad.
Lastly, Laporta gave a stunning press conference on August 16th, detailing the entire scope of the club’s crisis. He spent the majority of the time dismissing Bartomeu’s letter as “full of lies,” but he also revealed some astonishing financial disclosures regarding Barça. According to Laporta, the club is in debt for €1.35 billion and has a negative €451 million net worth. Furthermore, the club has spent 102 percent of its entire revenue on player salaries.
All we can say is that Barcelona dug a hole for themselves. However, all the issues highlighted above are the reason for Barcelona’s financial crisis. Only god knows how they can revive from this critical situation.