Barcelona’s financial crisis deepened as LaLiga has cut another €300 million from their spending limit, with six clubs in the Spanish top-flight now permitted to spend more than them.
The bar for operating costs for Barca for the 2021-22 season has been reduced to €97m, which is almost €650m less than rivals Real Madrid, whose limit has been fixed at €739m.
Barca’s limit for last season was €382m, while the season before that (prior to the pandemic), it was as high as €600m.
LaLiga corporate director Jose Guerra explained that the Catalan club’s limit, which is less than clubs such as Villarreal and Real Sociedad, is down to losses of nearly €500m for the previous campaign.
“They acknowledge much higher losses than what they had initially estimated, so the impact is greater on their spending limit,” Guerra said in a video call on Wednesday.
“If you take the €97m limit and add the losses, around €480m, we’re talking about €570m, which would be more normal. So it’s more or less stable.”
Barca recently confirmed losses for the 2020-21 season of €481m. That was around €200m higher than had originally been estimated following an external audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Sources told ESPN that was down to president Joan Laporta, who was elected in March, writing off several assets as part of last year’s accounts, including amortisation payments due on certain players, to help the club return a profit this season.
Therefore, the club expect their spending limit to be significantly increased next season, although Guerra warned that past losses will still be considered moving forward.
However, Guerra added that due to the unforeseen effects of the pandemic, Barca are not in danger of being punished in the short term, although the league will need to see justification of the damage done by COVID-19.
In practice, Barca’s wage bill will remain much higher than €97m this season, despite their best efforts to reduce it in the summer by letting Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann leave.
Laporta revealed recently that salaries and amortisation payments still account for around 80% of the predicted revenue of €765m for the season.