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Sunday, February 25, 2024
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Barca Financial Troubles Grow With Mounting Debt Concerns

  • Club officials face scrutiny as total debt load approaches $3 billion
  • Recent profits achieved only through asset sales
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

FC Barcelona’s financial troubles continue to pile up, despite its continued status as one of the most popular and winningest teams in European soccer.

At the club’s annual general meeting, the reigning La Liga champions announced a debt of $1.3 billion, not including financing costs for the ongoing renovation of the Spotify Camp Nou stadium. Those latter costs haven’t been disclosed, but are likely to add another $1.6 billion in debt. Barca also sustained an operating loss of $212 million for the 2022-23 season. 

But Barcelona president Joan Laporta said the club was in an even worse state three years ago, and that the financial outlook has since improved with asset sales, including 25% of its television rights for the next 25 years to U.S.-based investor Sixth Street. Those sales allowed Barcelona to post a net profit of $322 million for last season.

“In any private company, they would have started with bankruptcy proceedings,” Laporta said. “We made brave decisions, and we saved the club from tragedy.”

Still, Laporta was grilled at the recent annual meeting about the nearly $3 billion in club debt, while an approved budget for the 2023-24 season calling for less than $12 million in after-tax profit leaves little room for error.

Legal Concerns

Laporta also denied recent bribery and corruption charges that he and other club officials will face in Spanish court amid a scandal involving referee Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira. 

“They will find nothing because there is nothing,” he said.

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