By Sergi Escudero
Barcelona, Spain, Sep 5 (EFE).- The biggest headache for FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta and his team since taking over the club in March has been balancing the books to meet LaLiga’s financial fair play rules.
The mission to cut outgoings led to a dramatic transfer window and was further complicated by contract clauses that paved the way for some players’ salaries to rise over time.
Just before the club’s living legend Lionel Messi left for Paris Saint-Germain, Laporta announced that player salaries accounted for 110% of Barcelona’s income. Messis’ departure brought that down to 95%.
A little later, after the team’s three captains — Sergio Busquets, Gerard Piqué and Jordi Alba — agreed to a pay cut and with the departure of others, notably Antoine Griezmann, Barça was able to comply with LaLiga’s 70% limit by offloading 140 million euros worth of salaries.
But the headache is far from over. Laporta explained that some contracts included gradual pay raises, which were due to kick in just as the tenure of his predecessor Josep Maria Bartomeu was slated to end.
A good example of this is Griezmann, whose contract details with Barcelona were reported on by the newspaper Sport.
If bonuses are taken into account, the Frenchman earned as much as 33.5 million euros in his first season at Barcelona, 29.5 million in the second, 37.5 million in the third and current season, 28 in the fourth and 39 in the fifth.
One of the clauses behind this salary balloon effect was the so-called loyalty bonus for players who stayed on at the club beyond a third season.
Media reports estimated that Barcelona’s salary payments would have shot up by 50 million this year compared to last, without taking Messi into account.
The club will have to continue negotiations with its highest-paid players, such as Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Imtiti and Sergi Roberto.
All this comes after Barça said it had lost 487 million euros in 2020/21 and had a debt of 1.35 billion.EFE