Barcelona is still unable to register their summer signings after La Liga rejected an attempt to use the club’s own funds to inflate the value of two asset sales they used to balance the books and strengthen their team.
The plan now is to sell a further 25% of their content production company, Barça Studios, for an estimated €100 million in the hope that it will allow them to include new arrivals such as Robert Lewandowski, Andreas Christensen, and Jules Koundé in the squad for their first game against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday night.
Barcelona had accounted for €667 million (£562 million) in benefits from the sale of two packets of future television rights, which they hoped would help them comply with La Liga’s financial fair play rules.
They also announced the sale of slightly less than 25% of Barça Studios, the third of three “palancas” or economic “levers” pulled this summer.
Barcelona said they had brought in more than €850 million in total, including a new sponsorship deal with Spotify, player departures, and increased revenue, as they seek to improve their squad and resolve a financial crisis.
However, according to the league’s audit, Barcelona received only €517 million directly from investors Sixth Street for two TV rights packages of 10% and 15%, respectively.
According to the Spanish radio station Cadena Cope, the remaining €150 million was paid by the club itself.
The operation is legal, as confirmed by the club’s auditors Grant Thornton, but the league has recalculated the benefit to reflect that €150 million of the total is not new income.
Barcelona has spent more on transfers than any other club in Spain and has yet to reduce their salary outgoings sufficiently, leaving them short of the threshold where they can register all of their players with La Liga.
Laporta had stated that he hoped not to have to use a fourth lever, but the board had already approved such a move if it became necessary, which it now appears to be.
His administration, which inherited a severe financial crisis, had previously been granted permission to sell a percentage of future TV rights (up to 25% for up to 25 years), Barca Studios, and 49% of the club’s licencing arm BLM at members’ assemblies this spring and in the autumn. The latter has not yet occurred.
Barcelona continues to try to move players, with Frenkie de Jong’s potential departure being especially significant due to the size of his salary and amortisation.
They are negotiating salary reductions with senior players and club captains Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba and intend to make more signings.