Barcelona, one of the biggest clubs in world football and the pride of Catalunya – an autonomous region in eastern Spain, have announced poor financial results for the season 2009-2010. It was widely expected that the club would announce some type of loss but the reports that showed a 79 million Euro loss were largely unexpected and will come as a shock to fans of the club. The club have a huge paying membership, which counts as an official following, and a gigantic non direct paying following, which counts as unofficial following. The official following contribute to the clubs coffers via their membership fees, purchasing of season and individual match day tickets and the unofficial following contribute to the clubs finances, along with the official members, by buying replica shirts, following the club on television and ensuring the development of the clubs brand in the international arena. To have such a huge following, official and unofficial, and to still record such a huge financial loss will also be of interest to UEFA.
UEFA are introducing new financial regulations over the forthcoming few seasons and will require all clubs which participate in their competitions to minimise their losses. Eventually the proposals require, several seasons down the line, for all clubs to at least break even. These proposals are being introduced because of the frequency with which the biggest clubs in Europe record such dramatic financial losses. The Catalan club now have total debts totalling €430m (£376m) but the recently elected President Sandro Rosell has stressed that he is confident the club can continue to meet its financial obligations and minimum repayments. Huge losses recorded in terms of player transfers, such as the deal involving the purchase in 2009 and sale in 2010 of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, have not helped the clubs finances. Sandro Rossel confirmed the club recently received a loan which totalled €155m (£135m) and which was necessary to ensure the short term financial obligations the club has because of an immediate lack of cash available.
Sandro Rosell was appointed President of FC Barcelona only a few months previously and immediately lambasted his predecessor Joan Laporta for the reckless financial situation Barcelona found themselves in under his tenure-ship. Rosell has indicated that Barcelona will adopt a far more disciplined and pragmatic financial approach under his stewardship and huge transfer fees or gigantic wage increases are unlikely to happen. Such news makes it appear unlikely that the club has the financial clout to make a move for any of the biggest players in the world that might become available in the next few seasons.