Barca the Club That Proves How FFPR May Leave Some Big Casualties

True BlueCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2011

Messi Business
Messi BusinessDavid Ramos/Getty Images

Apart from perhaps Real Madrid, FC Barcelona are the club the world wants to be like.

They have a team full of local Spanish/Catalan talent, the product of a wonderful youth set-up.

The club is owned by its fans and has a massive following across the globe.

They are the glamour club, the straightforward honest to goodness epitome of the Catalan nation.

And so it is assumed they will not be held back by UEFA's new Financial Fair Play Regulations (FFPR).

A club that has won so many league titles and so many European trophies is always going to draw in the revenues needed to make FFPR irrelevant, surely.

All the big brands want to be associated with a team like Barca, there is big money to be had and that big money is sitting in Barcelona's bank account, right?

But when you look closer, there may be a problem.

The current golden generation was perhaps the cheapest AND best team any club will produce, and keeping the squad fresh and the team at the top will be expensive. Rewarding the success in terms of wages is also not as easy as it was.

Let's not forget that Barcelona snapped Messi up for the cost of hormone treatment at about a thousand dollars a month—that sort of transfer is not likely to be repeated too often, now is it?

And here is the kicker: last season, when Barca won everything worth winning, they made a financial loss!

And it wasn't a little loss—it was 77 million Euros.

It gets worse. The club are also now seriously looking at debts that were built up and that stood at 442 million Euros in 2010.

Of course, the revenues that Barca can call upon will aid them in the moves back into the black, but they cannot make a loss in any three year cycle. One bad year might not be easy to remedy.

Big plans to update the Camp Nou have also been shelved, as there is no money for it, and in truth, Camp Nou desperately needs money spent on it.

The club has decided then to prioritise debt repayment ahead of the full implementation of the FFPR—sensible, I suppose.

But what of the need to bring in new players, or even to hold on to the ones they have?

As Manchester United found, their golden generation of Beckham, Scholes, Giggs and Neville really has been a one-off. The only way they have "found" talent as good since is by buying it. Ferdinand, Carrick, and Rooney are all products of others academies, bought at huge expense.

But that's what Barca have done in the past. Buy in the talent. Cruyff, Romario, Ronaldinho, Laurup, Maradona, Eto'o, and Rivaldo all cost a pretty penny, and even the recent addition of David Villa was a big buy.

Will the money be there in the years to come?

So all is not rosy at the club every other one apparently wants to be like.

And maybe it won't be that easy to build a new squad on a shoestring budget in five years' time.

Will the lustre of Barca then begin to fade, and will the FFPR strangle the life out of the team all others aspire to be?

With a crumbling stadium, an aging squad and no way to buy big and play in the Champions League, the doomsday scenario may mean M. Platini isn't as welcome at Camp Nou in the future.


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