Barcelona president Joan Laporta says club owing €1.35bn in debt, accuses Bartomeu of ‘lying’

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Barcelona president Joan Laporta has opened up on the club’s “very worrying” financial situation, revealing the La Liga giants are €1.35bn (£1.15bn) in debt.

Laporta blamed his predecessor Josep Bartomeu for a “terrible inheritance” which he says sees club salaries representing 103 per cent of income at the Nou Camp.

He blamed the club’s “dramatic” situation on Lionel Messi’s departure and insisted Bartomeu and his board of directors must be held accountable.

Laporta, in his second spell as club president after winning the 2021 elections earlier this year, said at a live press conference: “Our salaries represent 103 per cent of the club’s total income. That’s 20-25 per cent more than our competitors.

“The first thing we had to do when we arrived was to ask for a loan of €80m because otherwise, we could not pay the salaries. The previous regime was full of lies.”

Laporta continued: “We also found that we had to do some urgent repairs to the Camp Nou because otherwise, it posed a risk to the attending fans. We also found out that the club had already received 50 per cent of the TV rights fees in advance.

“We found the wage policy in the form of an inverted pyramid – veterans on long contracts and youngsters on short deal. There were no wages cuts – lies.

“We have found that disproportionate payments have been made to intermediaries, not even agents.

“Barcelona has a negative net worth of €451m – it is a terrible inheritance. What has been happening is very worrying.

“Bartomeu’s (open) letter is an effort to justify management that is unjustifiable. It is an exercise in desperation. They are responsible for everything until March 7. They will not escape their doing.”

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