This is when football starts to change, part 1: exit Barcelona



By Tony Attwood

The opening of the story is one that you probably won’t read about anywhere in the UK media, but it is a story which is gathering a certain amount of interest in Europe and even in America.

And the background has occasionally been mentioned on Untold: Barcelona are completely bust financially.

Of course they have been on the edge since around 2014/15 when the club started buying players without any serious idea how to pay for them.   Then came Covid – nor their fault but it made things a lot worse.  It is now thought to be over 3 billion euros.

The club tried some clever tricks like selling their TV rights to future games.  That brought in money, but then instead of paying off other debts they used the money to buy more players.

They also started renovation work (much needed) on their stadium.  That in turn reduced their income as the number of people able to watch games was cut almost in half.   It was still 55,000 but they were used to almost 100,000 for every game.

Even selling Neymar for 222 million euros in 2017 didn’t help, as they kept on spending money on the basis that “We are Barcelona” and that old cry of “too big to fail.”

Then in addition to selling future TV rights the club took a 600 million euro short term loan perhaps somehow forgetting that all these loans and future sales reduce the club’s income month by month.

The amount of salary and amortization that Barcelona can register has decreased, from 648 million euros in the 2022/3 to 204 million in 2023/4.  Which is unfortunate because the actual amount of money they need to pay for their commitments is double that.  In fact financially Barcelona are now one third of the size of Real Madrid.

Or to put it another way, Barcelona are totally bust.

So what will happen?    A look at the league table from last season gives us a clue.  Real Madrid top with 95 points, Barcelona second with 85 points, third Girona with 81 points.

Girona (with a stadium capacity of 15,624) are part of the City Group including Manchester City, and as we have reported they have come from nowhere into a European position.   With Barcelona now virtually bankrupt, the obvious move is for the City group to merge Barcelona and Girona.

Girona needs a big stadium, Barcelona needs lots of money.  It is a simple solution and another step to the domination of a country by the City Group.

Pep Guardiola has been active with Girona and may one day want to go back to Spain, and if he could do so by getting a hero’s welcome for having saved Barcelona and made Girona part of a giant team why not?

After all Girona is part of Catalonia and is only 60 miles from Barcelona.  I am sure that the City Group would put on trains and coaches to help Gironese fans travel to the big city for games.  Girona’s ground could be used for reserve matches.

And of course there is a big cultural significance in Barcelona having its own successful club to rival Real Madrid whose very name associates the club with the royal family.

It is also a fact that La Liga does not want one of its two major teams to disappear leaving Real Madrid to pick up all the trophies on its own year after year.  Just having two big clubs (with a third popping along to win the league very occasionally) is bad enough, but to reduce that to one because Barcelona can’t even pay for the stadium, would be a political disaster.

La Liga will be happy to save one of its flagship clubs, second division clubs will be happy and negotiate one of them going up to replace Girona which will become part of Barceolona.

Girona fans will get a promise of priority for season tickets for 10 years to come.

And if all that fails to come to pass?  Well the City group just buy Barcelona anyway..

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