The debt, and especially the losses and guarantees, will polarize the assembly of compromise partners that Barcelona will hold on Sunday at the Palau Blaugrana. Josep Maria Bartomeu and the board that he chaired from 2015 to 2020 have contested the accounts that will be presented by the board of Joan Laporta. The former president questions some of the economic criteria of the due diligence exposed last week by CEO Ferran Reverter, who described the management of the previous Barça council as “disastrous and improvised”.
The extensive document prepared by Bartomeu and his directors concludes that the club has stopped entering “a minimum of 330 million in the 2020-2021 financial year due to the pandemic”; argues that “the proposed losses include 262 million for provisions and unusual impairments and that the League qualifies as atypical”; it makes explicit that “the audited net debt, adjusted with Espai Baça, has been 558 million and not 1,350 million”, as is assured right now from the Camp Nou; and he assures that “in no case, nor at any time, has the club been at risk of liquidation or dissolution”, an extreme that they do hold at the Laporta meeting.
Bartomeu’s team estimates the impact of the pandemic in the 2020-2021 season at 225 million and the reduction in income at 330 million, while reiterating, on the other hand, that the board that closes the year is responsible for the economic results, of a way that does not contemplate that the account can be chopped up or split before and after Laporta’s inauguration last March after Bartomeu’s resignation in October.
The litigation therefore lies in the quantification of the losses and in their responsibility, a debate conditioned from the beginning by the effects of the covid-19. The former president maintains that they followed the guidelines of Royal Decree 1162/2020, of December 22, which establishes special conditions for the application of the guarantee compensation regime on sports corporations to face the impact of the pandemic.
Bartomeu’s text maintains that, according to the application of the norm, “the most objective formula” to calculate the decrease in income in the 2020-2021 season is to compare it with that of the next season in the time in which no there was covid, that is, 2018-2019. Camp Nou revenues fell from one season to another by 187 million; commercials, 57; the media, 16; and those obtained by the transfer of players, 70. The total that would have stopped entering would amount to 330 million. The document also puts the reduction in expenses at 105 million and not at 125 as reflected in its audit by the Laporta board of directors.
The former president also qualifies some interpretations relating to the 263 million provisioned by the previous meeting and extends to the depreciation of some players of the squad valued at 160 million: “This reclassification and valuation accepted by the auditor, although atypical, is legal but the Responsibilities and derivatives are assigned to the manager who executes them ”, it is specified in the document. “Both for losses and profits, if they occur, when the transfer is made.”
“We agree with the current board that, despite the terrible impact of the covid in the last 18 months, the club is alive and has assets (…) to move forward successfully and strengthened in this difficult stage,” concludes the text defense and Bartomeu’s reply to the assembly on Sunday at the Palau.
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