Barça president: Messi renewal would have put club in hot water

Barcelona, Aug 6 (EFE).- The renewal of Lionel Messi’s contract would have put Barcelona’s future “at risk,” which is why the Argentine superstar will be let go, club president Joan Laporta said on Friday.

“Unfortunately we have inherited a disastrous legacy, with sporting wage expenses equal to 110% of the club’s total income,” he said. “ Making an investment the size of Messi’s contract would carry certain risks with it, and we do not wish to put the club at risk any more.”

Laporta said the only way to hold on to Messi was by accepting a LaLiga deal with the CVC investment fund, which is willing to pump 2.7 billion euros into the Spanish league.

CVC’s investment would allow Barça to expand by 15% its wage expenses for its players, under LaLiga’s “fair play” regulations that limit expenses of the sort, to level the playing field.

“For LaLiga to expand that financial ‘fair play,’ Barça would have had to endorse the operation, which entails mortgaging part of the club’s TV licencing rights for half a century. That I am not willing to do, for no one, not even for the best player in the world,” said the president.

Laporta and Messi had set Thursday as the final day to solve that conundrum, which could not be cracked, resulting in the expected departure of the football superstar.

According to Laporta, more than two months of negotiations failed to yield an agreement, as the club shuffled different arrangements hoping to find an agreement with LaLiga.

“Messi wanted to stay and Barça wants him here, but we didn’t have enough margin for wages to make it possible. Even without Leo we still do not comply with ‘fair play.’ The wage limit is very much topped over,” he said.

Laporta denounced the “disastrous” management of the club’s finances by the previous administration board, pointing out that the issue with wage expenses comes not only from the inflated salaries of most players, but also from “high amortization” they have to undertake due to “disproportionate investments” in transfer deals.

“Messi’s tribute will be whatever he wants and feels like doing. We would do one everyday for everything he has given us. But we know what the sanitary and financial situation is, and that makes it complicated. I hope to see the homage he really deserves in Barça some day,” he said. EFE


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