Spanish soccer giants FC Barcelona will enter into a lawsuit against German investment firm Libero over the non-payment of funds.
Libero had agreed to pay Barcelona €40 million ($43.8 million) for a 10% stake in the club’s Barça Vision non-fungible token platform.
After multiple delays from Libero, the deadline for payment passed with no funds transferred, and therefore Barcelona will now sue the company with the hopes of attaining the funds sooner rather than later.
The Barça Vision deal had originally been conducted with the aim of using the funds to bolster its sporting ambitions by signing new players. However, without the promised sum of €40 million, the team’s business will become a lot tougher if it is unable to attain the funds through legal means.
It has been reported elsewhere that the Libero money was earmarked to cover a portion of the club’s numerous debts, and that it had already been budgeted for, leaving a potential €40 million gap in the club’s finances.
The Libero deal was one of a number of “economic levers” that the club pulled over the last two seasons in order to dispense funding for an on-pitch revamp of the playing squad and meet budgetary rules imposed by its domestic league, LaLiga. Many of these levers have, however, presented high levels of risk for the club’s future.
Tanveer Aujla, GlobalData Sport analyst, said: “Barcelona’s financial mismanagement over the last few years has been well documented. Slashing their enormous wage budget has proved troublesome, and the costs of rebuilding Camp Nou have piled on the pressure in already difficult circumstances.”
“The pulling of their ‘financial levers’ has caused much bemusement amongst fans of the sport, and many are wondering how the club can be so poorly run that these are still a requirement. “
“The pulling of these levers also indicates just how desperate the club are to spend money on transfers. In the modern world, clubs must spend inordinate amounts to continue competing against the best teams, thanks to the state-backing of clubs like Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, who have spent huge amounts in attempting to win the UEFA Champions League.”
Ahead of the 2022-23 season, the LaLiga club was reportedly more than €1.5 billion in debt, with the club’s leadership stating €500 million would be needed to save the club from its financial crisis.
As well as other assets, the club sold its first 24.5% stake in Barca Studios to fan token and engagement platform Socios.com for €100 million and its second 24.5% stake in the division to web development agency Orpheus Media for another €100 million, ahead of the 2022-23 season in order to balance its books and purchase new players.
Regardless of the intentions for the funds it was set to gain from Libero, it remains that without it the club could be headed for serious financial trouble dependent on the outcome of its litigation.