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Joan Laporta explains how Barcelona went ‘from bankruptcy to positive equity’

The president detailed the process behind getting the finances to a better place

FBL-ESP-BARCELONA-LEWANDOWSKI Photo by MARCO BELLO/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona president Joan Laporta gave a lengthy interview to American media over the weekend, and one of the topics addressed was the state of the club’s finances.

It has been widely publicized just how bad things got for Barça when it came to their debt, and Laporta had to take drastic measures such as selling 25% of the club’s La Liga TV rights over the next 25 years. The economic “levers” were approved by club members and could bring as much as €600 million on a deal with investment firm Sixth Street.

The deal allowed the club to pay their short-term debts and invest heavily in the transfer market, and Barça look financially competitive again after just one year of Laporta’s reign.

The president explained to CBS Sports how the process unfolded of getting the books in order, and claims the measures had to be taken in order to avoid bankruptcy and achieve financial health again.

“We had to get out of hospital. A year ago, it was practically Chapter 11. We had to work very hard to revert the financials and avoid bankruptcy. I can say with pride that we did it. One year later, we are in positive equity. That’s very important. This season, we have €1 billion in revenues and €124 million in profits. That means we are getting better and better.

“And now we have sold the 25% of our LaLiga TV rights for 25 years. Honestly, I didn’t want to do it, but I had to do it in order to save the club. I would like to thank Sixth Street because we reached a very good deal for both parties. We had higher offers but this was the right one for us. And we have enough now, under Financial Fair Play, to buy players again.

“It has been very hard. But my expertise is in managing chaos. It also happened in my first period as president and I succeeded and we had the most successful period of the club. We had some luck but part of that was because we took care of all the little details. Now in this second period, it has been more stressful but we have a strategy. The plan is ‘work, work and work’ and thanks to all the people around me, the board of directors, my staff and employees, everyone has helped to save the football club.

“We are excited by the strategic partnership with Spotify. Two global brands are able to engage, who are both leaders, and we are sharing philosophy and values. Also, this has never been seen before — a partnership that unites football and music, sports and entertainment. It has huge potential. When I arrived one year ago, Barça were in a very difficult situation. But thanks to the work that all of us are doing, now we are out of the hospital. Now we are healthy again and are ready to compete.”

Source: CBS Sports

It’s undeniable that Joan Laporta and the people around him have done a very good job getting the finances in order, at least on the short-term. No one really knows how the sale of TV rights will impact the future in a decade or two, but the team is competitive again and Barça fans can dream of glory after some really dark days. For that alone, Laporta deserves a pat on the back.

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