By Paul Nicholson
September 10 – FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has said that the club is on course to break the €1 billion revenue barrier for the 2019/20 season, and set a new football club record.
Speaking exclusively to Barça TV, he allayed fears that the club was stretched financially. “I want to give a message of calm. We have healthy finances and we are a robust club. The fact that financial entities join with us to offer us resources is a clear demonstration that we are solid,” he said.
An area that has caused comment surrounding Barca’s finances has been the increase in costs of developing the Espai Barça that will begin in earnest later this month with the demolition of the Miniestadi which is on the footprint of the Camp Nou complex. The development is scheduled to complete in 2024 and will include an expansion of the stadium to 105,000.
“In 2014, we had a budget of €600 million. Now we have specific projects and are ceding to the demands of the City Council, and the deviation could reach €685m. In the coming months we will hold an extraordinary meeting to address this issue of the new financing plan.”
“The number for the budget has changed, because the costs are different to five years ago and we have increased the construction limit a little more.”
Predicting revenue will hit €1.06 billion, Bartomeu said the level of debt at the club was not an encumbrance. “The level of debt is normal and complies with the ratios set by the statutes. We are under the EBITDA, and we have an enormous EBITDA that generate a lot of income,” he said.
“Last year we generated nearly €180 million Ebitda, with accumulated profits of €153 million and a net debt of around €160 million. If we add Espai Barça to this, then this debt is €217 million.”
One deal that could have pushed the debt higher was the proposed signing of Neymar, described by Bartomeu as a last minute opportunity. PSG wanted €210 million for Neymar but Barça could only get to €150 million through cash and bonuses. The ‘make-weight’ of players in the deal couldn’t be achieved before the transfer deadline.
According to Neymar’s representatives, that deal is still live and could be completed in the next transfer window though more likely next summer. (See: Unfinished business. Neymar could be back in Barcelona by Christmas).
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