Bartomeu: ‘Barcelona have been hit the hardest by coronavirus’

FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu claims that his club has been hurt by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the club president claims that the club remains healthy due to the efforts made by both the club and the players. Barcelona’s squad has agreed to lower their wages during the lockdown and Bartomeu says that has helped the club survive.

“We saw that there was a pandemic worldwide and said that it would be a complex summer with swap deals, and that’s what is happening,” Bartomeu told Mundo Deportivo. “Since March 14 we have not received a euro. We have missed out on €200 million. €200m! We have recovered a lot by reducing wages and using ERTE’s (Temporary Employment Regulation File, with the government paying 70 per cent of wages).”

“We have had to close the shops and the museum, there have been no ticket sales. We have paid back the ticket money for matches fans couldn’t attend. €200m is a big blow. This pandemic will have effects for two or three seasons,” he added. “Nobody should think that things will be fixed by next season. The great financial gurus talk about four years, but I think football will go faster.”

Bartomeu insists that Barcelona aren’t above feeling the effects of the economic downturn. “In our Strategic Plan we had planned on earning €1.1 billion (£1bn/$1.3bn) and now we will bring in 30 per cent less because of Covid,” he said. “I say this because if someone thinks that the pandemic does not affect Barca, they are wrong. It affects the big European clubs and Barca is the European club that makes the most money and is the most affected.”

But when reporters asked if Barcelona are in financial troubles, Bartomeu reacted defensively. “It’s not true,” he said We had a higher level of income than the other big clubs but on March 14, everything stopped and we had to adapt to the new situation. And despite the losses, we will continue to be the leader in revenue. The club’s debt level is not very high. When the audit ends in mid-August, the economic vice president Jordi Moix will explain it and we will see that we are at normal debt levels.”