Barcelona was expected to experience a transition this summer as the club's presidency shifted from Joan LaPorta to Sandro Rosell, but few anticipated the new president's first month to be dominated by revelations of the Catalan club economic's troubles.
In early June, it was revealed that Barcelona was unable to meet their June wage bill, forcing the club to take out a €155 million loan. Today comes news that the club lost €77.1 million last season, a figure uncovered by an audit commissioned by the club's new president.
Club vice-president of financial affairs Javier Faus revealed that the club had income of €408.9 million during the 2009-10 season against expenses of €477.9 million, according to an audit by Deloitte.
Faus, in announcing the deficit, said the former administration had failed to paint an accurate picture of the club's financial health:
"The figures presented by the former board don't reflect the real image. They have cheated," Faus said.
"There is a structural problem. The sporting excellence in the last few years has not been reflected in economic excellence.
"The new board's goal is to bring economic excellence alongside sporting excellence."
Barcelona had originally reported an €11 million profit for the 2009-10 season; however, the independent audit conducted by Deloitte, who used a different accounting criteria, identified the €77.1 million deficit.
The audit's adjustments also influenced the club's debt, which now stands at a net €442 million (€552 million gross).
Despite the alarming news, Faus emphasized that Barcelona was not bankrupt, pointing to other assets of the club:
He said Barcelona — which won the Spanish league last season and the domestic treble, along with the Champions League, the year before that — has "hidden assets" such as its youth team and real estate holdings, which he estimated are worth $250 million.
"We have the best player in the world, the best coach in the world, and eight players who are world champions," he said of people like Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, who played in Spain's victorious World Cup side in South Africa. "So, this is not a dramatic issue."