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‘It is worse than I thought’ – Laporta opens up on Barcelona’s finances

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FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta has made a worrying confession about the club’s financial state and the difficulties he faces.

Joan Laporta admitted Barcelona’s finances are in a worse state than he expected while attempting to explain the club’s current state.

The 58-year-old replaced Josep Maria Bartomeu for a second term as Barcelona president in March. He has decided to honor the remaining year left on head coach Ronald Koeman’s contract, welcomed four new players, and announced plans to add another ‘three or four’ fresh faces to the squad so far.

But the more pressing issue is handling Barcelona’s reported debt of almost €1.2 billion. There are also abnormalities, which are possibly related to the infamous ‘Barcagate’ scandal – where the previous board made payments to third-party firms.

“The club is worse than I expected, and I expected it to be in a difficult situation,” Laporta told La Vanguardia.

“There are some contracts that greatly limit us. There are things that will have to be explained [by the previous board] and I won’t rule out any measures.

“Everything will be explained because otherwise we would be accomplices. The same people always appear in the contracts.”

Boasting the highest wage bill in Europe doesn’t help matters. Despite the players accepting measures such as a three-month pay cut last year in the middle of the pandemic, the club continues to struggle with salaries.

Laporta even reportedly secured a €100m loan from an American investment bank to help settle outstanding debts to players in May.

Several players, including Philippe Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti, could also leave to help lower the wage bill. Lionel Messi, meanwhile, would have to accept a pay cut if he is to sign a new contract.

“We have found ourselves with a squad with out-of-date salaries and we will have to juggle,” continued Laporta.

“Existing contracts can be changed or restructured, and then there are drastic measures that we would like not to have to take. Nothing is ruled out for the good of Barcelona.

“Between salaries and amortizations we have a figure of 650 million, which is more than the club’s income. These salaries are out of date.”