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Joan Laporta, candidate who seeks to return to the presidency of the Barça football club, continues to unveil the elements of his plan for FC Barcelona, and this Wednesday he presented the economic project, led by Jaume Giró, former general manager of the Fundació Bancària La Caixa - who will be a key member of the board if the former Barça boss gets the nod from club members in the January 24th election

A sustainable Barça, in the hands of the members

In Laporta's economic project, the pair explained today, the emphasis will be on assuring the club's ownership model and making it sustainable. Giró, an ideologist of the economic plan, stated that "we must make the club sustainable and preserve the unique model of ownership of Barça, which belongs to its members".

Video: Laporta and Giró present their economic plan for Barça (video in Catalan)

The essence is clearly to make a profit, which will lead to economic sustainability. Laporta argues that "it is urgent to implement measures to reduce indebtedness, control spending and increase revenue." And for this reason it is necessary to review the numbers and order "an audit to find out exactly what the economic and financial situation of the club is."

Jaume Giró Maria Contreras Coll

Jaume Giró, at the presentation of the economic project for Joan Laporta's Barça candidacy / Maria Contreras

If the previous board estimated 791 million euros in revenue for the year, the budget - not yet passed - can no longer be met because not even in December 2020 did the public return to the Camp Nou stadium and nor will it reach 100% capacity in February 2021.

While the pair assure that they are "optimistic because we have the experience", they estimate that revenue will be "15% less than expected", which would mean revenue of 650 million euros.

Bartomeu's poor financial management

Analysing what has happened in Barça economic management, Giró notes that "debt increased from 2017 onwards", characterising it as a case of sudden wealth syndrome. The problem, above all, ocurred with the sale of Neymar Junior, which "aggravated a dynamic of football planning which was poorly linked to economic management." From there, there was an abrupt increase in the wage bill, reaching the figure of 500 million euros, and consequently expenditures surged.

Giró also emphasizes that the mismanagement by the board of the now-resigned Josep Maria Bartomeu, also in the financial section, cannot use the pandemic as an excuse: "Covid is not the only problem in Barça's economy". And he compared the club to Real Madrid, with much better figures than the Barça club despite the coronavirus. In the same vein, he stressed that "the forecast closing figure for 2020/21 will again show significant losses." And that "we have problems not only with treasury, but also with capital."

Joan Laporta Jaume Giró Maria Contreras Coll

Joan Laporta and Jaume Giró, in the presentation of their Barça economic project / Maria Contreras

Keys to growth

Giró is committed to a sustainable Barça that does not have to depend on player transfers: "It should not become a necessity year after year". He adds that it must not depend on others, as "the debt is at its maximum." And he once again puts on the table the mismanagement by the previous board, speaking of the last minute player swaps, made in order to square the accounts.

And he also spoke of another area where a need to improve is clear: "In recent years we have lost momentum with sponsors, and this is where we need to grow." Giró proposes "going out to find and generate new income" through talent in all areas: "Talent must be on the field but also in the offices."

Bond plan

Giró also announced one of his major plans to return Barça to the world football leadership - also in economic terms. "We propose two debt issues, one special and unique aimed at the fans and another institutional, aimed at investors," he says.

And he explains that it will be through a "debt issue with special bonds, aimed at all Barça members and fans, so that they can feel part of Barça". This formula would be based on "an economic contribution and so that they can collaborate in helping the cashflow tensions we have."

Joan Laporta Jaume Giró Àlex Barbany Joan Casas Maria Contreras Coll

From left to right, Àlex Barbany, Joan Laporta, Jaume Giró and Joan Casas / Maria Contreras

Future income

Àlex Barbany, former director of Retail, explained the lines to be followed, and focused on "growing in the entertainment world". One of the aims will be to get back to the club "as it used to be", as in recent years "top-tier companies and sponsors have left Barça".

In the new Barça of Laporta, the club will be "more proactive". The future plan devised by the team under Jaume Giró has "room to grow despite the current situation". They estimate that "in three years we can increase revenue by 50%."

One of the internal projects within this framework of economic growth is the Barça Experience Centre, a multidisciplinary space, with the capacity for a corporate headquarters, to hold eSports competitions and sales areas. In addition "it will be self-financing, so without a net cost to the club."

Indeed, the future is also in eSports: "We want eSports and eGames to become one more section of the club." And also to make Barça and Barcelona the world capital of sport-technology-health.

Presentación económica del pla del Barça del equipo Laporta elecciones Barça 2021_20 / María Contreras Coll

Joan Casas, head of the Catalonia Economists Society for 10 years / Maria Contreras

A minimum profitability

Joan Casas, head of the Catalonia Society of Economists for 10 years, stated that the economic plan is key and "must be well designed in financial terms." He also explained that "all of Barça's financial resources are external" and that "we must maintain a minimum of profitability", which as he notes has not happened recently.

Barça has brought in huge income, but the budgets have always been passed with little profit, which the Laporta board aims to improve. 

Video: the Laporta economic plan for Barça - entire press conference. 

Main image: Joan Laporta and Jaume Giró during the presentation of the economic plan / Maria Contreras Coll