Football: Barcelona approve selling 25% of TV rights and 49.9% of retail arm

The club's board hope this will enable them to finish the financial year without losses and increase spending limit. PHOTO: FC BARCELONA/FACEBOOK

BARCELONA (REUTERS) - Barcelona approved on Thursday (June 16) the sale of a minority share of their licensing and merchandising division and the cession of up to 25 per cent of income from their La Liga TV rights in a bid to improve their financial situation.

The club's board hope this will enable them to finish the financial year without losses and increase their spending limit.

Club president Joan Laporta said they expect to sell up to 49.9 per cent of retail operation Barcelona Licensing and Merchandising (BLM) for €200-300 million (S$291.5-437.3 million) and a minimum of €200 million each 10 per cent of the La Liga TV rights for 25 years.

The plan to sell BLM received 89.3 per cent backing from 636 participants (only 14.2 per cent of the club's total delegates), while the TV rights deal got 86.8 per cent support.

"When we arrived last year, we found ourselves in a very complicated financial situation. We couldn't afford the payroll of May 2021. Investors were demanding €200 million that we did not have," Laporta told the assembly.

"We believe that using club's assets to create financial levers is the best way to bring back Barca to being competitive again."

Laporta, who presided over one of Barca's most successful periods between 2003 and 2010, was re-elected last year for a second stint with the Catalan giants after the previous board resigned due to the club's worsening finances and other controversies.

He inherited a deep financial crisis exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and, restricted by La Liga's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, Barca were unable to re-sign club great Lionel Messi, who left as a free agent for Paris St Germain last summer.

Laporta said in August the club's debts totalled €1.35 billion, €673 million of which is owed to banks.

Barca in December approved financial plans to renovate their famous Camp Nou stadium, including raising an additional €1.5 billion in debt.

In March, Barcelona signed a shirt and stadium sponsorship deal with audio streaming platform Spotify in an agreement worth €280 million.

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