On the pitch, Barcelona looked much better without their ex-star Lionel Messi and the start of a new era brought hope among the fans. But off the pitch, the war of words and blame game is still on. Over the years, Barcelona has not been a quiet place but off-the-field issues always halted the progress.
❗️ Former Barcelona President Bartomeu has sent a letter to Laporta. See the screenshots below to read it for yourself. [efe via md] pic.twitter.com/D9mroLP1vs
— barcacentre (@barcacentre) August 13, 2021
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has slammed Josep Maria Bartomeu following the publication of an open letter he addressed to his successor last Friday. Bartomeu blamed Laporta for the current situation in Barcelona.
But, Laporta did not step back from defending himself and explained in a press conference where he described the open letter as “full of lies” and highlighted the terrible situation that the club was in when he took over as president in March.
“[Bartomeu] started to panic because the results are negative,” said Laporta.
Joan Laporta says Barça’s gross debt has risen to €1.35 billion. Club accounts show losses of €481m for last season (revenue €655m vs outgoings of €1.136bn). He says coronavirus only to blame for €91m of the losses
— Samuel Marsden (@samuelmarsden) August 16, 2021
“He is desperate because he sees that his management of the club has been disastrous.”
Laporta went on to highlight the worrying economic situation that he was faced with when he became president, and he revealed that the club’s negative net worth currently stands at 451 million euros, which he described as a “terrible inheritance.”
He also added that emergency repair work to the Camp Nou had to be carried out ahead of their La Liga Santander opener against Real Sociedad.
Sport: Laporta strikes back. "Bartomeu has left Barca in ruins." pic.twitter.com/MjbA9gm8CB
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) August 16, 2021
Laporta warned the former Barcelona president that the matter is far from over and that he will be looking to take this matter to the Assembly of Delegates, who will subsequently make a decision over the legal pathways that can be pursued.
“No one will escape from their responsibilities,” he said.
Bartomeu’s eight lies, according to Laporta as posted in MARCA:
The first lie
I received the letter from the former president and the truth is that he wanted to make it public, I respect that.
After reading it I see that it is full of lies. It is an exercise in despair. They are responsible until March 2021. Until the date of their resignation, they are responsible for the consequences of their administration, and no one will run away from their responsibilities.
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) August 16, 2021
I don’t want the maxim that if you repeat a lie it becomes the truth to remain at the club. It is a systematic deception.
Everyone knows that we approved the accounts for technical reasons and so as not to paralyze the club’s activity, but this approval does not validate the period from 2019 to 2020.
The second lie
He says that he resigned because the [Catalan government’s Procicat] and his board resigned because the vote of no confidence was successful and they tried to escape so as not to be the first board to be deposed.
The third lie
They say that after resigning they could not take economic decisions and that is why 375 million [euros] was lost because of COVID.
If all their assumptions were fulfilled, the profit would have been one million [euros]. They put more than 300 million [euros] in sales, almost 200 million [euros] in salary reductions, 100 million [euros] for Barca Corporate. None of this could be done.
Laporta: "In the long run the club will regain financial strength."
— barcacentre (@barcacentre) August 16, 2021
There was also the hypothesis of opening the stadium in February 2021, which was not realistic. None of the assumptions of the budget presented for the 2020/21 season have been fulfilled, and so this budget gives a negative result of 320 million euros.
This results in a dramatic economic, patrimonial and financial situation. We find that on March 31, 2021, the debt was 1.35 billion euros.
The fourth lie
The 12 percent [salary] reduction of the 2020/21 [season] and the 20 percent reduction planned for this season is also a lie. The reduction is not real. Those 68 million [euros] have been transferred and we have to pay them now. These salaries were not reduced.
The fifth lie
The sale of Barca Corporate is the fifth lie. Add to that the income from the Super League and La Liga’s agreement with CVC. This is the old wives’ tale.
It is serious enough for a Barcelona president to break the confidentiality of contracts because it undermines credibility. It is also serious for Bartomeu to say that LaLiga’s proposal to make us members would have benefited us because it meant mortgaging the audiovisual rights for 50 years.
Laporta: "La Liga gave us false hope that they would allow us a salary margin to renew Messi, but they did not tell us in exchange for what. And when we met them, we couldn't accept it." pic.twitter.com/CRC7b6mlFS
— Leo Messi 🔟 (@WeAreMessi) August 16, 2021
It shows that the short-term strategy of his board was to plug holes and not look to the long term, [thus] mortgaging the club. This is how we have fared and the management [of the previous board] is disastrous and also very worrying. We will get out of this situation because we are working on it.
The sixth lie
Neymar. At this point he says that we have forgiven him 16.7 million [euros]. Another lie.
This is not true and I would also remind him of the damage done to Barcelona by the Neymar saga. It was an accumulation of lies. He made a shameful and self-serving pact with the prosecution to condemn Barcelona for the first time.
The seventh lie
Sporting salaries shot up because otherwise, we couldn’t compete with the Premier League clubs.
While Laporta is talking about Barca's debts, attempts to get players to agree salary cuts, Madrid announce Courtois has renewed his contract until 2026.
— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) August 16, 2021
The truth is that the sporting policy has been disastrous in recent years, especially when they managed to sell Neymar for 222 million [euros]. They spent disproportionately and at lightning speed. This caused wages to skyrocketing. We should have made more proportionate investments and with more sporting logic.
The eighth lie
The Espai Barca [project]. Firstly, it has worked on activities with a lack of transparency.
There is no information that the construction or refurbishment of a stadium with the presence of so many people entails an increase in costs and risks that are practically unaffordable.
We also find that there are falsehoods when it comes to underestimating the costs of many of the items. The facilities were undervalued; there was no report that made this facility reliable.
— Reshad Rahman (@ReshadRahmin_) August 16, 2021
With the Espai Barca, we are reforming the project to make it viable. We are in a position to comply with a timetable that involves presenting financing to the [general] assembly, and once this process is completed we will begin work in the summer of 2022.
We are also looking after the facilities of the [different sports clubs inside Barcelona] to make them compatible with the technical designs of the projects. The repairs were urgent and we are doing them.
It is hard to understand why this issue was not presented in the assembly, but they did not dare because the project was undervalued. We have lost valuable time to bring the club and its assets up to date.