La Liga has raised Barcelona’s spending limit by €800m (£700m), bringing it out of a spending deficit after the Catalan side sold off chunks of assets to patch up its finances, the Spanish league said.
Barcelona were given a cap of €96m last year, which was slashed by January to minus €144m – meaning the team had to find savings elsewhere to sign new players – after they ran up debts and future liabilities of €1.35bn, with €673m owed to banks. As a result of their financial turnaround, the league said on Friday it has given Barcelona a cap of €656m for the 2022-23 season.
To offset losses and comply with La Liga’s financial fair play rules, Barcelona sold 25% of their domestic television rights to the US investment firm Sixth Street for the next 25 years in two deals worth more than €500m. The club raised an additional €200m from the sale of a 49% stake in Barça Studios in two separate transactions, while also signing a long-term sponsorship deal with the streaming giant Spotify in March.
That allowed Barcelona to spend more than €150m on Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Koundé, while Andreas Christensen, Franck Kessié, Hector Bellerín and Marcos Alonso all arrived on free transfers.
La Liga’s president, Javier Tebas, said Barcelona will have to continue to reduce their wage bill to maintain their spending limit for next season. “Without the [sale of assets] it may not be so high next season,” he said. “They may have to reduce their outgoings by around €200m by selling players or even [selling more] assets.”
When asked if La Liga had been too generous in accommodating the club’s needs, Tebas said: “Not at all. The same rules are applied to all the clubs in Spain. To register Koundé, the president of Barcelona had to put up a personal guarantee. Is there a risk of bankruptcy? In my opinion, I don’t think so, not at all. They have a high wage bill but a lot of equity, although … they have had and [will] have to reduce the wage bill.”
Real Madrid have the highest spending cap in the league at €683m, while Atlético Madrid are third behind Barcelona at €341m. La Liga’s spending limit accounts for the maximum amount clubs can spend on salaries, bonuses and amortisation payments on transfers across a season.