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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Funding, Stadium Issues Cloud Barcelona’s New Season

  • Camp Nou is closed this season as it undergoes major renovations.
  • Barcelona is struggling to secure funding for several of its new key signings.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Barcelona enters the 2023-24 soccer season with perhaps more questions than any other club around the world — especially financial ones.

The club is defending yet another La Liga title but has continued to struggle to secure much-needed revenue, an ongoing issue that contributed to Lionel Messi’s departure in 2021. Recently, Barcelona’s debt was well over $1 billion.

Now, ahead of its opening La Liga match on Sunday, Barcelona hasn’t registered several top signings due to a lack of sufficient funding.

Uncertainty has surrounded a unique deal to sell equity in the club’s Barca Studios. It’s an effort to bring in cash — as much as $65 million at a time — in large part to pay large player salaries. It’s currently unclear how many Barcelona players will have officially signed and will be ready to play this weekend.

Next weekend, Barcelona will play its home opener — but not at the storied Camp Nou, which is closed at least until late 2024 while undergoing renovations as part of a $1.6 billion development project. 

For the immediate future, Barcelona will play home matches at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys. That venue, originally built in 1927 and renovated for the 1992 Olympics, has a capacity of 56,000 — about 40% less than the nearly 100,000 regularly packed into Camp Nou.

Barcelona has also been fielding lucrative transfer offers from clubs in Saudi Arabia to help bolster the club’s bottom line.

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