The FC Barcelona squad has an approximate cost of 400 million euros, while LaLiga has established through its Economic Control a Cost Limit of the Sports Template (LCPD) of 270 million. This body has reduced almost 400 million from the 2022/23 season to the 2023/24, which placed it at 656 million euros. However, all Barcelona players are registered in the competition.

How does LaLiga calculate that limit? It is about subtracting three concepts from the annual revenue forecasts (ticketing, sponsorships and merchandising, television rights, benefits for transferring players, etc.). These concepts are: non-sporting expenditure, mainly infrastructure and equipment; the losses of previous years and the debt to be paid in the next year. If these concepts exceed the expected income, it means that the club is exceeded.

"Barcelona has to continue doing what it is doing," said Javier Tebas, president of LaLiga in the presentation of the Economic Control made by the LaLiga body EA Sports and Hypermotion. But what is he doing? Barcelona's tricks to overcome this control are massive departures, renovations and levers to stop being one of the 11 First and Second clubs that is exceeded. The excess of the 11 clubs is 200 million euros and, as EL MUNDO has learned, 130 belong to Barça.

If we talk about mass departures, this year Barcelona has got rid of Kessie, Collado, Chadi, Griezmann, Nico, Dembelé and Abde and has ceded Julián Araujo, Dest, Lenglet, Ansu Fati and Eric. These operations have reported revenues of 93.3 million euros according to Transfermarkt. Of those, he has barely invested 5 in the arrival of Romeu. The rest of the additions have been at zero cost.

"We have to stop signing to be able to get rid of the wage bill when a club has more staff cost than it can have," Javier Gómez, Corporate General Director of LaLiga and father of the Economic Control established more than a decade ago in Spanish football, explains to ELMUNDO.

This year, in addition, the regulations Preparation of Budgets of Clubs and Sports Corporations, which regulates Economic Control, has changed in its article 100 and the percentage of sales that can be reinvested in new signings of exceeded clubs has been increased by 10%, from 40% to 50%. "Barcelona has increased its capacity by 55 million," Tebas confirmed about the Blaugrana economic direction after the summer.

The leader of LaLiga also dared to suggest to Barcelona the sale of one of its stars from the quarry. As the cost of this type of player is zero to the club, doing so would mean a net income to balance the accounts. However, he clarified: "It does not seem that he will do it, it depends on the strategy of the club, which is not the LaLiga brand."

Contract extensions

Another trick that Barça has used has been that of renovations. Maneuver that he used last year with the extension of the contract to several players, reducing the amount to be received, but extending the years of payment. That was the case with Umtiti, already out of Barcelona. Recently, the club renewed Sergi Roberto but lowering his record by 60% from four million to 1.7.

The trick with Joao Felix has been two-way. After his declaration of love for Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid decided to find accommodation outside his dressing room. Although at first it was thought not to strengthen a direct rival like Barça, at the close of the market there were no offers for the Portuguese and in the red-and-white offices it was decided to allow a transfer to the culé team, provided that he renewed with Atlético lowering his salary.

Joao Félix extended his relationship until 2029 and Barcelona received the Portuguese loan, to whom he imputed a salary of 400,000 euros. LaLiga, however, did not estimate this amount as realistic and considered that the figure according to the Economic Control should be four million net.

Squeezing the boundaries

"All companies try to squeeze the rules of economic control," explains Javier Gómez and continues: "LaLiga allows some things and not others." But Gómez is also aware that sometimes there are maneuvers that are hidden from the control of LaLiga because "the risk-benefit" comes to account because they are minor things and prefer to pay the sanction that touches them. "If you skip a traffic light sometimes you do not get caught, there may be faults, what I can assure you is that there are no crimes," explains the Corporate Director metaphorically.

Undoubtedly, the tool most used by Barcelona has been the lever, so baptized by Joan Laporta himself. This is the sale of club assets with the aim of cleaning up its accounts. Last year Barça managed to raise nearly 900 million after the sale of part of its television rights, Barça Estudios and Barça Vision.

All companies try to squeeze the rules of economic control

Javier Gómez, Corporate Director of LaLiga

Although the idea of the directive is to reduce the enormous debt of the club, which stands at about 1,350 million euros plus the 1,500 million of the Espai Barça (which will be distributed between bonds supported by investors and bank financing). Part of these levers are also imputed to the short-term debt of the entity that influences the financial Fairplay.

The latest trick is that of sponsorships such as Spotify signed in 2022 by which Barça would enter, according to Sport, 435 million euros in eight years. For Arjana Argibay, professor of Sports Law at the European University, the article referring to sponsorships, 31.9, is the most "lax" of the Economic Control of LaLiga and in which clubs have more autonomy when declaring before this body. Although it is then the Validation Body that underwrites the value of the declared sponsorship, there are terms such as "economic need", "market prices" and "fair value" that allow clubs greater slack. However, Tebas warned Barcelona that "although it increases its sponsorship, it does not add to its salary limit."

  • FC Barcelona
  • Joao Felix