Joan Laporta appeared in a press conference at the Auditori 1899 to explain the reasons for Leo Messi’s departure.
The FC Barcelona president reiterated, “Leo wanted to stay and the club wanted him to stay but with the La Liga rules it has not been possible.
To comply with the league’s fair play regulations we had to accept an agreement that mortgaged the Club’s TV right for half a century and FC Barcelona is above everything else.”
Before taking questions from the media, Laporta spoke to outline the various reasons for which the agreement between Leo Messi and FC Barcelona could not be formalized.
“Before anything, I want to explain that we have received a terrible inheritance from the previous board which means that salaries at the club represent 110% of income. There is no room to maneuver and the La Liga fair play financial rules mark the limits.”
The president also explained: “When we arrived at the club, after the first audit and the end of the season, the figures seemed better. However, they are worse than predicted. That means high predicted losses and the predicted debt is much higher. That is why we have those salaries way above income.
There is no wriggle room with salaries. To comply with the league’s fair play regulations we had to accept an agreement that mortgaged the club’s TV right for half a century.” The president made it clear that “The Club is above everything else. The players, the best in the world, the President, everyone.”
Laporta added: “Leo’s registration was tied to accepting this La Liga operation and it is not in Barça’s interests. We understand that we should not accept this mortgaging of Barça’s TV rights for half a century.” He explained: “I want it to be clear that Leo wanted to stay and the club wanted him to stay. There comes a moment in the negotiations when you have to make a stand and analyze the figures rigorously.
The La Liga rules could be more flexible but that is no excuse because we were aware of them. Leo Messi deserves everything and he has shown his love for Barça and the willingness to stay in Barcelona. I am sad but convinced we have done the best for FC Barcelona’s interests.”
The president continued: “Now we have a small margin to find solutions. Yet even without Leo, there is not much room. The ratio is 4 to 1. Without Leo, for every 25 million in salary, 100 million have to come out. Now the percentage on wages with regards to the budget comes down 110% to 95%.“
With regards to new signings, he added: “The new players can be registered according to our calculations. It is the same, Leo’s merited salary and that of the four signings, they have made an effort and should be thanked. The squad is not definitive until the transfer window ends on 31 August and a lot of things can happen.”
Finally, with regards to losses, Laporta assured: “The losses predicted were around 200 million but they will be 487 million euros, and that is a lot. On the impact on sponsors, we will have to work more and harder to get more partners, explain what Barça is and that we have talented players; players will come and that will generate excitement for sponsors.”
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