Barcelona are far from being able to make ends meet in order to officially renew Lionel Messi’s contract, and not just by a small margin. They are still very far away.
In addition, the little that they have cleared in terms of their wage bill is currently under LaLiga’s microscope. The competition will have to decide whether the work done thus far is in accordance with the regulations.
“We want more flexibility from the league to be able to include more signings,” Joan Laporta said on Monday in what was a public plea to LaLiga.
“The negotiations with Messi are well under way, but we are fixing several issues on both sides.”
He will not find such flexibility however. LaLiga aren’t going to move a millimetre from their regulations – which have been accepted and approved by all professional clubs – simply to fix the mess left behind by the previous board at Barcelona. These are the reasons why.
1. Clubs don’t want to change the rule
It’s not that LaLiga can’t change the rules, as there are parts of the economic control specifications that could be modified. But, this would have to be presented by one particular club and voted upon and approved by all the other clubs.
The league already knows that other clubs aren’t going to approve, with Barcelona having put it on the table at the beginning.
LaLiga’s regulations led Elche, Murcia and Reus to administration punishments, yet these rules continue to ensure the financial viability of Spanish football, which brings us to our second point.
2. France and Italy are already going through serious problems
Ligue 1 continues to carry the financial problems of not having finished the 2019/20 season, and in some cases they have clubs that are close to bankruptcy.
Italian football has also asked for help, calling on the Italian government to allow gambling sponsors once again after losing revenues of 1.1 billion euros. That’s in addition to deferring debt payments for a minimum of two years and favouring financing for clubs.
In Spain, the clubs don’t want to contemplate getting into a mess with the tax office again, with LaLiga’s efforts in recent years having settled a lot of debts with the public purse. If some kind of help comes from the Spanish government, which would be a first for this administration by the way, then it would be welcome, but the clubs want nothing which makes them go into debt.
Allowing more excesses in salary caps equates to nothing more than allowing clubs to make financial losses. You would be essentially letting them have salaries that they can’t afford to pay because they don’t earn enough. That, ultimately, would compromise the viability of the league.
3. A lack of sympathy after the Super League project
As if the huge financial problem that Laporta has inherited wasn’t tough enough, the other LaLiga clubs aren’t exactly in favour of facilitating things financially for Barcelona after their involvement in the failed Super League project that the Catalan club continue to promote.
The other Spanish clubs understand that Barcelona were looking for a life away from them, where they could claim even more riches for themselves, damaging the national championship in the process.
Now, Barcelona want help to fulfil Laporta’s electoral promise of renewing Messi’s contract, but they won’t find much sympathy from other Spanish clubs, at least not in big enough measures to make viable changes to the economic regulation.
Barcelona have a lot of work and some painful decisions ahead if they want to register Messi and the other new arrivals. Even if they succeed, which remains to be seen, a complicated season awaits them in the boardroom.