Barcelona president Joan Laporta claims his predecessor Josep Maria Bartomeu lied in the letter. Laporta has also revealed the Spanish football club has a debt of 1.35 billion euros (1.15 billion pounds), describing the situation as “very worrying”. Laporta blamed former president Josep Bartomeu for the debt, accusing him of leaving a “terrible legacy”. The football news reports Catalan club’s salary is currently 103% of the total income. Lionel Messi’s contract extension would have made salaries accounted for 110% of income, which La Liga refused to accept. Messi made an emotional exit from the Camp Nou last week and signed a two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain.
“Our salaries represent 103% of the club’s total revenue, 20-25% more than our competitors,” said Laporta, who is now in his second term as president after winning the March election. “When we arrived the first thing we had to do was ask for a loan of 80 million euros because otherwise, we could not pay the salary. The previous government was full of lies. Barcelona has a net worth of 451 million euros – it is a terrible legacy. What happened is very worrying.”
Bartomeu defended himself in an open letter released on Saturday, backing the financial measures he would have implemented if he had not been forced to resign in October that would have allowed Messi to stay at Barcelona. “As known, our Board of Directors planned to call an election on March 21 in a legal period at the end of our term, which would have allowed us to handle and settle the accounts for the 2020-21 season,” said Bartomeu.
“Then we would have taken necessary decisions to avoid reaching the current financial position. We alone would have been responsible for the shutdown [due to the pandemic] and its consequences, a decision that the new council has not taken in the past few months, which highlights their inaction.” Laporta described Bartomeu’s letter as “an attempt to justify improper management” and “an exercise in despair”, adding: “What they do will not get rid of them”.