Barcelona members vote to ease their financial woes so they can attempt to sign Robert Lewandowski
Barcelona members vote to sell the club’s retail business and some of the TV rights to free up around £555 million so they can sign players this summer…with Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski as their main target
- Agreement reached on sale of 49.9 percent of Barcelona Licensing and Merchandising
- A total of 568 people voted in favor of the move, and only 65 voted against
- Joan Laporta said the deals could bring in between €600 and €700 million
- Robert Lewandowski becomes the club’s main target during the summer period
Barcelona members have voted for the club to sell some of its Barcelona Licensing and Merchandising (BLM) retail arm and some of its future TV rights revenues so they can sign players this summer.
The sale of 49.9 percent of BLM was approved by 568 votes in favour, 65 against and 13 abstentions.
The sale of up to 25 percent of the TV rights for 25 years was given the green light by 494 voting members in favour, 62 against and again 13 abstentions.
Members of Barcelona have voted on a proposal that will bring much-needed funds
Members voted to sell 49.9 percent of the club’s Barcelona Licensing and Merchandising retail arm, as well as some of their TV rights, which will boost transfer funds this summer
President Joan Laporta said the deals could yield between 600 and 700 million euros. Before the vote, he told members: “Barça is a Formula 1 car without fuel and with a stalled engine. We have to do this because we have been making losses for years, we have inherited a very difficult situation.’
If the deals bring in £600million, the club’s salary cap will go from £144million down (as it stands) to slightly closer to £450million in the positive.
That would still be above their current wage bill of 560 million euros. So they’d be stuck with the 4:1 rule (which requires them to spend only a quarter of the revenue they bring in) unless they can cut salaries.
The deal could bring in between €600 and €700 million and boost Xavi’s market
They are confident they can do that and if they succeed, or bring in 700 million with the two financial levers, it means they can operate like other clubs.
Laporta blamed the previous board for the club’s situation, but said: “I don’t want to keep looking back. It’s important to make a profit because if we keep making losses, our competitors will see us as weak. And not just them, but those in power in regulatory bodies systematically and obsessively put obstacles in our way.’
That dig appeared to be aimed at La Liga, whose financial fair play rules mean that Barcelona’s spending on player staff is more than their budget surplus and that they are limited by Article 100: they must earn four euros to spend one.
Barcelona has 4,478 senior members who have voting rights on such matters and the meeting was initially postponed due to insufficient attendance at the meeting. But at 6:55 p.m. local time, 636 accredited members were in attendance or online for the vote to take place.
Barcelona have convinced club members that they must now close the deals before the end of the month and hope that, coupled with a cut in wages, they will be clear to operate normally in the transfer market.
Robert Lewandowski will be the target, although Bayern Munich hold on for €40m
Before the vote, members were given the opportunity to speak or ask questions. Former agent Jose Maria Minguella, who was involved in Lionel Messi’s original signing, bemoaned the sporting direction that had led the club to this point.
He said: “I warned about the terrible sporting management we suffered when the club threw money at Philippe Coutinho, Oumane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann. I now want to warn that the signings are crucial.
“Not everyone can sign players. Whether you draw well or badly, you succeed or you fail. You don’t have to be smart to draw [Robert] Lewandowski now, but you have to sign him when he’s only 22.”
Lewandowski will now be the target, although Bayern Munich have to pay €40m in one go and Barcelona’s wage bill has yet to be cut, there is still work to be done.