La Liga Weekly

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The entire world is in the 3rd year of a recession. The football world has not been spared and the most recent victim are the giants from Catalonia, FC Barcelona.

A recent audit into FC Barcelona’s finances have revealed the club’s debt is a staggering 442m Euros (£369.5m) after a loss of more than 77m Euros (£64.36m) last season!! You may say, Who cares? Or All I care is about what happens on the pitch. The problem is these footballing clubs are also businesses that need to make payroll and vast amounts of cash are needed to run the daily operations to provide the sporting magic.

Barca is not the only club currently under the pressure of finding new and creative accounting ways to maintain their global presence; Manchester United FCs debt increases to £716.5m (1.1 billion is the total debt). Manchester United debt is due to The Glazer Family, the current owners, and brilliant move of taking on massive amounts of bank loans to purchase the Lancashire club. Arsenal FC built a new stadium to keep up with Manchester United and the other massive clubs around the world. Their debt is £203m. Sure, the North London club cut their debt by 40% in the past year with the sale of the former Highbury stadium, now a luxurious, condo/apartment complex.

Ok, do these debts really matter? I mean didnt FC Barcelona win 6 trophies 2 seasons ago, from a sporting perspective, that is the best possible outcome to a season. So why the fuss? Well, a club would like to maintain that level of dominance, but it is not feasible. Players will begin to want bigger and bigger contracts and with the likes of Chelsea, in last 5 years and presently, Manchester City, both breaking the bank year after year driving up the prices, on often slightly above average players; is this good for football?

Clubs begin to acquire massive debt in the hopes of reaching Barcaesque levels of success, but unfortunately ask, SS Lazio and Leeds United Football Club (and their respective suffering supporters); if you do NOT win trophies the banks and players still want their money! In the end, guess who suffers? Not the banks, they will raise profits in some other aspect of life. Not the managers and players, they will shuffle off to another club and make millions. The real victims to acquiring football debt and clubs gambling on winning are the fans/supporters!

A potential future solution may be to have league wide salary caps like in American sports leagues. Footballing Associations in each nation would have to agree to such a financial management scheme for the greater good of viably containing the economic integrity of each club within the leagues. The current 2-tiered caste system, within many European leagues, of having 3-4 super giant clubs and the floundering rest of the pack, just wanting to survive each season in the league would be forever changed. Let us be so bold to have a small percentage of each club contribute to a general league fund, also known as revenue sharing.

Remember, Im not a financial analyst, just a concerned fan that enjoys competitive leagues, strong stable clubs, and passionate supporters to be appreciated.

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