With the economic crisis looming, the vice-president called for prudence and for "austere and rational" measures in order to take on "ambitious future projects"
Tour, Ibrahimovic and Alexis
Javier Faus took advantage of the Q&A period of his presentation to shed light on some of the Club’s current events. He explained that the cancelled Asia Tour had a negative economic impact of three million euros: “we’ll bring in six million euros for five preseason friendlies and the tour of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand would have brought in nine million euros.” The Azulgrana vice-president also announced that the Club intends to embark on the Asia Tour next summer.
On Zlatan Ibrahimovic, transferred last summer to AC Milan, Faus said the the Club “is still owed eight million euros” and that Barça won’t receive any money for the player’s recent transfer to PSG. On the other hand, FC Barcelona did receive one million euros for Thiago Motta’s sale to the Parisian club.
Faus also explained that the Club needs to pay four million euros to Udinese for variables stipulated in the transfer agreement for Alexis Sánchez: two million of the amount of games started and two million for reaching the Round of 16 in the Champions League.
Javier Faus is committed to a prudent Barça in economic terms. The vice-president said, during the end-of-year financial report, that the Club “needs to be cautious” if it wants to be able to take on “ambitious future projects.” Faus highlighted the Board’s obligation to look to the “medium and long term” stability of the Club even though athletic success is necessary now. Faus insisted that “rational and austere” measures need to be applied in order to secure a “positive balance sheet.”
Club assets, a sure bet
With the current severe economic crisis as a backdrop, Faus believes that the Club must “reduce the debt to sustainable levels” and, above all, “not take on more debt.” He added, “we have to prepare for what could happen in the near future and have stronger assets. For ambitious real-estate projects we need a healthy balance sheet.” He reminded the press room that the Club’s debt currently stands at 335 million euros.
Funds for signings?
The debt reduction is directly tied to the funds that could be used for investments this summer as well as new signings. According to Faus, the Club is working with a 40 million transfer purse, 14 of which have already been spent on Jordi Alba. “Last year we surpassed our transfer budget with the signings of Cesc Fàbregas and Alexis Sánchez. We cannot overspend our budget by 20 or 30 million euros each year, it would put our business plan at risk. It wouldn’t be sustainable,” he said, directly alluding to future possible expenditures that would surpass the remaining 26 million euros in the Club's transfer budget.
On the possible plan to allocate more funds to signings, Faus said that “I’ll have to take the debate to the Board of Directors and vote on it,” he added, however, that it would be very difficult to change the Club’s current economic plan, “because we have to reduce the debt, that’s what the banks demand of us.”
The online word, “a fantastic opportunity”
Faus admitted that it would be very difficult to increase this year’s 500 million intake. “Teams like Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea or AC Milan bring in 300 to 350 million. Each year it’s harder to find new revenue streams,” he said. However, Faus expressed optimism in regards to monetizing the Club’s online efforts: “it’s the area of future growth. We’re working very hard in this industry, it’s a great opportunity.” It’s worth noting that the Club launched its French website just days ago and that the Club’s Chinese website brings in nearly as many users as the English site.
The debate over season ticket prices
Lastly, the vice-president recognized the the Board of Directors studied the possibility of increasing season tickets prices. Up until now, since the current Board took over management of the Club, the price of season tickets has not gone up, even though the electoral promise was to not increase the price in the first two years of the term. “We want to have a debate. We’re the cheapest Club in Spain and Europe,” said Faus.