The former president of FC Barcelona Jose Maria Bartomeu, decided to break his silence and answer the accusations in recent days about the bad economic situation of the club, which Laporta spilled after the departure of Messi. Laporta explained at a press conference that Messi could not be registered because the inheritance received by the previous board had left the club bankrupt and La Liga did not allow the financial fair play to be transferred.
Given this, Bartomeu sent a public letter to the EFE Agency trying to defend his management and justifying the club’s situation. The former president used the main argument of the situation caused by COVID19, since the club would have ended the year with 97 million euros of losses. Bartomeu explained that before the pandemic crisis, Barça was generating more income than ever, but that when the virus arrived, everything had to be paralyzed and 203 million euros stopped entering.
In addition, in the letter he comments that the situation was already known when Laporta came to office, since the audit carried out by the new directive, validated the annual accounts, and they also ratified them, so they cannot claim ignorance of the situation. Finally, he also criticized that the current board of directors did not accept the financing agreement that had been reached with Goldman Sach or the one that La Liga has offered, as they would have covered the losses and Messi could have been signed up.
In my opinion, I think that Laporta and his board could have done more to retain Messi, but in the letter, Bartomeu seems to try to exonerate his guilt, when he is obviously one of the main culprits. Since his arrival, Bartomeu made multi-million dollar signings difficult to justify financially. Coutinho, Dembélé, Griezmann, Pjanic, Neto, Trincao … have been signings that have emptied the accounts and have not given the necessary performance to amortize them. In addition, Bartomeu renewed the players practically without negotiating, which caused the club to have an unaffordable salary mass.
Finally, it must be explained that in the last two annual accounts prior to the pandemic, the club also closed in losses, and what Bartomeu’s board did, instead of trying to find a solution, was to swap players with other clubs, to record the departure as a sale in the current year, and the cost of the transfer in the following year. In 2019 the swap between Cillessen and Neto with Valencia CF was made, for a value close to 30 million and in 2020 the swap between Arthur and Pjanic with Juventus for about 70 million. These operations are an attack on the club’s accounts and should be investigated, so I think Bartomeu should have saved that letter.