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Barceloña to allow weddings at Camp Nou for N1.2m to offset debt

Barceloña to allow weddings at Camp Nou for N1.2m to offset debt

Some clubs in football history have either gone into administration, bought, or taken over, to preserve the brand and avoid disruption to the system and those whose source of livelihood is attached to them.

Big clubs in Europe, who have become the models to other emerging giants in the game, are known to be prudent, plain with running the franchises and balancing their books. The ideas become the verity they administer their clubs on.

However, uncharacteristically, Barcelona has found itself in serious troubled water of financial recklessness. The trouble manifesting at the club started under the club’s 40th and immediate past president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

It was reported that Barcelona was “technically bankrupt” when the present president, Joan Laporta, took charge in March 2021, and Bartomeu’s regime was termed “disastrous” in the club’s history.

Before him, Sandro Rosell had spent almost €90million to sign Brazil superstar Neymar Junior from Santos in 2013.

The Catalan club spent eye-popping sums to sign Ousman Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, and Antoine Griezmann during Bartomeu’s time. It was alleged that the club signed players at the time and unbothered about being unable to afford them.

Barcelona closed business in the 2020/21 financial year with a $565.4 million loss, and by calculation, they only envisaged €5million profit in the just-concluded season.

Last season, the financial challenge spiraled into Laliga disallowing the club from renewing Lionel Messi’s contract, which eventually saw the Argentina captain, who had spent his entire football life at the club, joining Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

Also last season, Barcelona was not allowed to register Memphis Depay and other new signings until some players on the club’s payroll agreed to take a pay cut.

 The Catalans have agreed on deals with Andrea Christensen and Marcos Alonso already ahead of next season, and there have been reports that they would not be registered for the 2022/23 season until the club balances their books.

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According to Deloitte, Barcelona top the list of indebted European clubs, with the Spanish side owing to a staggering €1.35billion. Though interruption by the COVID-19 pandemic was blamed for the huge figure, the club’s mismanagement was primarily fingered.

The club’s debt is more than that of Manchester United and Liverpool combined. The two Premier League sides are ninth and tenth on the list of 10 European clubs with the most debt.

With dwindling finances, revenue sources, and sales of souvenirs and merchandise, the club has resorted to opening its stadium to social events, to generate funds to offset some of its debt.

Barcelona now allows weddings at Camp Nou, as it is off-season, for prices ranging from N1.2million to N10.2million (€1600 – €13,500).

Furthermore, in the bid to also generate more money, the club will allow fans to play a 60-minute match at the stadium between June 6 and June 11, 2022, for a fee of €300 per person, to pay off their debt.

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