Carles Tusquets interview: We prevented Barcelona going into bankruptcy

The former acting president spoke to SPORT about his fleeting time in charge at Camp Nou

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Toni Frieros

Carles Tusquets had to deal with reducing the players' salaries, organising an election in the middle of the pandemic and helping Barca stay about water during the most difficult time in the club's recent history. Tusquets, who was acting president between Oct. 30 2020 until March 17 2021, has spoken to SPORT.

Were you scared when you had to take the bull by the horns?

No, because I was FC Barcelona's Treasurer with Nuñez for 11 years and president of the Economic Commission with Bartomeu. We knew the club's situation...

How would you sum up Bartomeu's time in charge?

I like to stay with the positives of his presidency, and there were a lot: the Espai Barça and the referendum, the sporting success, betting on Koeman, Jasikevicius, designing Barça Corporate...

And the negatives...

I've already said in many of the different meetings. We had to be really careful with the debt. After Neymar left, the debt shot up. Signings were made for a lot of money, like Dembele, Coutinho and Griezmann. Contract renewals were made as well and the wage bill increased.

What's an advisable wage limit?

UEFA recommends to be below 70 percent (of a club's income) but the ideal would be 50 percent. This season, with less revenue, if we had what the players earn to the amortisation payments, we're talking about 90 percent.

Crazy!

If we hadn't lost €300m due to the pandemic, the percentage would be lower, of course.

There isn't a day when we don't talk about Barça's debt...

The club's net debt, which is what you owe minus what is owed to you, is right now around €600m. The gross debt is above €1 billion.

How much money is owed to banks?

In the short-term, €250m. And long-term, around €200m (more). That includes the €125m advance from Goldman Sachs for the Espai Barça project that, once approved by the Assembly, will come out of the negative balance. The club's debt, for that reason, will drop a lot.

What do you suggest then?

For there to be enough capital, probably selling players. Also starting Barça Corporate before June 30. If that happens, there will be liquidity for next season.

I applaud your sincerity. Was the most difficult issue negotiating the pay deferalls?

It has to be done as soon as possible. Every day that passed, the situation was more critical.

What would have happened without an agreement?

We wouldn't have been able to pay the players in January. And if you don't pay, suspension of payments can be initiated. As administrators, we were obliged to protect the club from bankrupty. We avoided that.

How much money was deferred?

The difference between income and spending was around €300m. We deferred €170m. Let me say here how grateful I am to the players and the club's employees for their efforts. And especially to (coach Ronald) Koeman, for the exemplary behaviour he showed. He was the first to say: 'Pay me when it's good for the club.'

How much money is owed on players in June?

Between €70 and €80 million.

They say there are already offers for Barça Corporate…

Yes, worth more than €200m for 49 percent.

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