Barcelona Press conferences

Joan Laporta: “The election should be held on January the 24th”

Joan Laporta and his board of executives explaining their economic plan. / Pep Morata / Mundo Deportivo
Joan Laporta and his board of executives explaining their economic plan. / Pep Morata / Mundo Deportivo

Joan Laporta has finally spoken more in-depth about his plan to reinstate FC Barcelona as one of the biggest clubs in Europe, starting with his economic plan.

On the morning of the 13th of January Joan Laporta held a ceremony to present his economic plan for FC Barcelona if he is to be elected as president a second time coming. He was joined by Jaume Giró, a member of his board of directors; Àlex Barbany, former executive director in retail, who is now serving as a member of the management committee at the consulting firm CBRE Spain; and Joan Casas, who has been the dean of the Catalan College of Economics for 10 years. Xavier Sala i Martin, who had already served as an executive during the first tenure of Laporta, was also present, but he was not part of the presentation.

Joan Laporta opened the ceremony and started by putting a firm stance on the date on which the elections should be held: “The election possibly not being held on the 24th of January, as it has been planned, would be a step against democracy, as there is no objective reason for a delay.” The election getting put off would mainly happen due to the covid-19 situation.

He continued by saying that his team will revise the financial state of the club and investigate the extent of the debt the club is in. Furthermore, he also projected 650 million euros of income this season, which is 15% less than the previous board projected. Concerning Barca Corporate, he addressed the issue by informing the media that there might be an investor who would be ready to buy 49% of the club’s ownership.

We want FC Barcelona to stay in control, we do not want to sell our assets thinking short-term. We are thinking long-term,” he noted and added: “Considering the bad management of the club combined with the complicated economic situation, it is necessary to act frugally.”

Jaume Giró took over by criticizing the former board’s sporting reaction to selling Neymar in 2017. The transfer changed the economic dynamics in the club, which were not followed up by the proper sporting decisions. “What Laporta is trying to achieve,” he continued, “is based on two goals: to preserve the ownership model and implement a lasting club environment.”

Additionally, he stressed the importance of finding young talents on the pitch as well as outlining the plan for it. He finished off by explaining the anomaly between the previous board’s projections and the actual financial situation of the club, while also adding: “The budget for the season 2021/2022 will be prepared. We are counting on the opening of the stadiums by then, which could leave us with as much as 65% of the club’s pre-covid budget. We will also identify the loss of the sponsorship revenue and re-negotiate the wages of our players, as we have the experience to do it.”

Barbany followed up on the sponsors by stating: “Barça is the club’s strongest trademark. Sponsorships are changing. We are proposing a new model for the relations with our sponsors, to regain their trust. We have to define the sponsorship scheme. The studies are showing that the club could up the revenue by 50% in 3 years, which would mean that sponsorships could bring around 250 million euros into the club.”

Barça fans will be glad to hear the FC Barcelona academy has also been addressed. Barbany presented a notion to make the academy more accessible to multiple countries and include more sports. Furthermore, he also presented the “Barça Experience Center”. Aiming globally, the project intends to bring the club closer to the fans around the world.

“The digital channel is very important, but Barça needs to be close to its fans. Virtual museums, merchandise and more, we would be the pioneers in this. It would cost 5 million euros, but we plan on nullifying any direct expenses for the club,” he told the reporters.

Regarding e-sports, he said that the club cannot turn its back to this new reality. They want to make this bet thinking long-term. What Laporta and his board of executives are proposing is turning Barcelona into the world capital, where the fusion of technology, sports and health would occur, while promoting Barça Studios.