"Vote to vote! Vote to vote!" The president of Barcelona, Josep Maria Bartomeu, had just announced that he was removing the proposal for remodeling the club's badge from the order of the day and the atmosphere became rare in the Palau Blaugrana. The board had warned by the interventions of the partners that he was going to lose the vote and backed off with the excuse that he wants to reflect on the need to include or not the acronym FCB, which would now disappear from the emblem according to a project that endorsed the changes to adapt to the digital framework and the dissemination of the Barça Brand. Many delegates rebelled and demanded that the vote be maintained: "It is a shield, not a trademark," stressed an Iraqi partner. And he added a second compromisario: "We changed by the technology? We also change the shirt every year and it looks like a barcode. " Jordi Cardoner, vice president of the social area, did not work. "The change of shield is not a whim, but is part of the project, to be a world reference," he argues. "It is part of the club project, of the brand project, which allows us to continue leading the world football, to be the benchmark for millions of people. But to do it, we have to modernize, "Cardoner insisted. There was no way, and then Bartomeu intervened in a deterrent way.
The dispute marked an assembly that until then had run smoothly with the presence of 987 registered members of the 4,530 summoned in the Palau. The accounts passed the cut for the satisfaction of Bartomeu's council. The Barcelona jumps of record in record when it speaks of income; year after year, assembly after assembly, the board presumes the amount of money handled by Barça. "No club in the world generates such high revenues, we are a global benchmark," said economic vice president Enrique Tombas. There were no doubts: it was approved with 721 votes in favor, 98 against and 51 blank the liquidation of the fiscal year 2017-2018, which left a balance of 914 million of income, 20 of net result and a cumulative profit of 188. And the budget for the next course, which provides 960 million of income and 15 of net result, was validated with 680 votes in favor, 82 against and 62 in white. The new balance also bets for the reduction in a sensitive issue, the wage bill: from 520 million will go to 492.
"We will have to work very hard to meet this budget; it will not be achieved if there are no sales ", explained Carles Tusquets, president of the Statutory Economic Commission of Barcelona. CEO Òscar Grau informed, in any case, that there is already an offer on the table: "Borussia Dortmund has already told us that at the end of the season he plans to execute his option to sign Alcácer", an operation that will amount to 23 million plus five in variables for the club azulgrana. "Barça is also more sustainable today, more committed and more supportive than ever," said President Bartomeu. The problem, in any case, is not in the income but in the net debt of FC Barcelona.
The body chaired by Javier Tebas, the Professional Football League (LFP), establishes its own concepts to calculate the debt of the clubs, a criterion that was not accepted by Barcelona. In fact, in the report of the balance of last season, the club reported that according to its parameters the debt amounted to 247 million euros, but that having used the advised by LaLiga would have been estimated at eight million positive. Then, the board did not need the LaLiga accounts. The numbers squared according to their own parameters: in 2013, it was established by its own statutes that the net debt could not be higher than the EBITDA by two. A demanding measure, which pretended to dominate the efficient management of the current board, useful until last year: 247 of debt, 124 of EBITDA, ratio of 2. Everything was right.
Something changed this year in the club offices. Now, the board counts its commitments with third parties with the criteria of the LFP. Had they continued with their "old" parameters, the debt would have been close to 500 million instead of 157 presented by the board. And, in this case, the ratio of debt to EBITDA would not be 0.88, but 2.8. A situation that would have left the Bartomeu team out of play. "The concept of debt is not defined by statutes. The new way of counting it is adjusted to the current football industry, "justified the decision Tombas, economic vice president. The turnaround of net debt went unnoticed. The junta's idea of changing the ceiling of financial indebtedness did not.
The delegates were left with the desire to vote the new shield; on the other hand, they were able to overthrow the proposal to modify statutes, referring to the way to finance themselves with foreign capital. The club's current financial debt can not exceed 10% of budgeted revenues. A limit that the board intended to relax. I was looking for a financial debt that could be twice the EBITDA. In other words, today Barça can go into debt with financial entities up to a limit of 96 million (960 are budgeted revenues) and the board wanted the ceiling to be at 354 (the planned EBITDA is 177). The partners stopped the initiative with 247 in favor, 201 against and 55 in blank. It required two thirds of the delegates to agree.
This refusal, in any case, does not alter the situation of Espai Barça (the work for the new stadium). Nou Camp Nou is financed independently, previously approved. The Assembly was choked to the board presided over by Bartomeu, without new shield or more flexible indebtedness. They saved, at least, the maneuver of net debt.