Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the president of Paris Saint-Germain, called the asset sales Barcelona made in the summer to pay for acquisitions “unfair” and urged UEFA should look into their legality.
For more than €700 million, Barca sold interests in its internal production firm, Barca Studios, and domestic broadcast rights, allowing them to spend more than €150 million on the signings of Robert Lewandowski, Raphael, and Jules Kounde. Five further players arrived on a free-agent basis.
“Is this fair? No, it’s not fair. … Is it legal? I’m not sure,” Al-Khelaifi said in an interview with Politico published on Wednesday.
“If they allow them, others will do the same. UEFA of course have their own [financial] regulations. For sure they’re going to look at everything.”
In order to comply with LaLiga’s stringent rules and register their new acquisitions with the Spanish league, Barca was compelled to sell off the assets.
They boosted their league-imposed yearly spending cap from minus-€144m to over €600m by selling off 25% of their LaLiga broadcast rights and a 49% ownership in Barca Studios, which will now diversify into web3 and blockchain initiatives.
LaLiga has approved the money, but Al-remarks Khelaifi suggests that UEFA will look into the legality of the transaction further.
Al-Khelaifi’s recent words are an expansion of those he made on Friday when, in an address to European club executives, he implied criticism of Barca.
“The new financial-sustainability rules are a positive development,” Al-Khelaifi said. “But we need to be careful. Dangerous levels of debt and magical equity deals are not a sustainable path.”
In the most recent publicly accessible reports, Barca’s gross debt still totalled more than €1 billion.
Al-Khelaifi is the president of PSG in addition to serving as the head of the European Club Association, the chairman of the prominent beIN Media Group, and a member of the UEFA executive council.
Barcelona was not one of the eight teams penalised by UEFA earlier this month for spending excessively during 2018, but PSG was.
The Catalan team, however, was one of 19 other clubs mentioned that, according to UEFA, only met the break-even threshold on technicalities, such as accommodations made during the pandemic seasons, when many games were played without spectators. They were thereafter included on a watch list.
In the meantime, Barca is experiencing a defensive injury issue ahead of the weekend’s return to club play.
The club said that Ronald Araujo underwent successful surgery for a thigh rupture in Finland on Wednesday, but he will miss the World Cup due to a potential three-month recovery period.
Jules Kounde, a defender for France, will also miss many weeks due to an injury, while Barcelona has also disclosed that Hector Bellerin injured his calf this week while practising.
Bellerin will reportedly be sidelined for up to four weeks, leaving Barcelona without three of the four players who have filled the right-back position this season, including Kounde and Araujo.
The fourth person is Sergi Roberto. He picked up an injury before the international break and missed the victory against Elche, but he is already back in training and might play against Mallorca (TV ETC) on Saturday.
Last week, while serving abroad, Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay both sustained injuries.