Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the president of Paris Saint-Germain, criticized Barcelona’s fund-raising strategies as unfair and mentioned that UEFA would look into the Blaugrana’s financial practices.
As football recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, Barcelona has come under constant scrutiny from around the world.
Barcelona’s owner, Joan Laporta, has employed a number of “financial levers” to keep his team among Europe’s elite while still adhering to La Liga’s strict rules.
In spite of mounting debt and difficulty adhering to LaLiga’s strict salary caps, Barca completed high-profile transfers for Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde, and Raphinha during the most recent transfer window, as well as signing a number of free agents.
In order to raise money for their transfer activity, Barca sold a 25% stake in their future LaLiga media rights as well as a 49% stake in their own production company, Barca Studios.
Al-Khelaifi has questioned the legality of the measures, which, according to President Joan Laporta, were used as economic “levers” to improve the squad.
Al-Khelaifi, whose own state-run club is frequently criticized for receiving financial support from the Qatar Sports Investments fund, has now publicly denounced Barcelona and declared that UEFA, whose Executive Committee he chairs, will look into their ongoing scheme.
“Is that right? No, that’s not right. Is it lawful? I’m not sure. Others will follow suit if they allow them to. Of course, UEFA has its own [financial] rules. They will undoubtedly examine everything.”
Khelaifi’s remarks come after a Friday conversation with the executives of top European clubs in which he made a veiled jab at Barcelona.
The Qatari tycoon, whose name has gained more clout, stated that the new financial sustainability rules were a good development.
“But we must exercise caution. Unsustainable debt levels and mysterious equity deals are not the way to go.” He added.
In response to Politoco‘s interview, Barcelona chose not to respond, but UEFA released a statement that read:
“All clubs participating in UEFA club competitions are monitored in accordance with UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Sustainability Regulations. The independent Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) makes compliance decisions.”
Laporta was happy to provide some insight into Barcelona’s financial situation this summer.
Most notably, he told ESPN after the £42.5 million acquisition of Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich: “We’ve had to move quickly. 25% of the TV rights were sold, and that added significant revenue.
Furthermore, it should be noted that the club is once again financially stable, but we still need to work harder to raise our earnings without selling shares or making money off of them.”
Al-Khelaifi is not the first and won’t be the last to have concerns about Barcelona’s business plan.
They have, however, complied with all the rules and laws thus far, even the particularly strict ones established by La Liga.