LaLiga slashes Barça spending limit by $71m

Barcelona’s annual spending limit has been cut by a further €66 million ($71m), reduced from €270m to €204m, LaLiga announced on Tuesday.

Real Madrid maintain the highest cap in the Spanish league at €727m, while Atlético Madrid is also higher than Barça at €303m.

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After being previously cut by €400m in September, the latest limits reveal the scale of the challenge facing Barça as they attempt to become competitive in the transfer market once again.

Sources have told ESPN that squad costs — which is what the cap regulates — are over €400m, which is more than double the LaLiga-imposed limit.

As a result, the Catalan club are subject to financial restrictions. They are only allowed to spend a percentage of what they save in salaries or raise in transfer fees, with the percentage varying depending on how big the saving is.

For the current season — and to encourage spending given the problems faced by many Spanish clubs in the transfer market — clubs over their limit can spend 50% of any savings they make and 60% if the saving made on a departing player accounts for more than 5% of their spending limit.

If there is not a correction before the summer, it could pose Barça a problem when it comes to registering players already at the club — Iñigo Martínez and Vitor Roque are only registered until the summer, for example — and making new signings.

Barça’s latest reduction is related to a range of factors. In part, it is due to the continued decreasing effect of the “palancas” — assets sold off by the club in 2022 to improve their short-term finances — which increased their limit as high as €656m at the start of the 22-23 campaign.

However, the money from one of those asset sales — Barça Studios, which has since been rebranded as Barça Vision — was never paid in full and led to the club re-selling it last summer to a company called Libero. That money has still not arrived.

The club’s revenue for the current season has also been hit by a temporary move to the Olympic Stadium in the city as work is undertaken to redevelop Spotify Camp Nou. President Joan Laporta recently revealed ticket sales have not matched budget predictions.

Behind Madrid, whose huge limit suggests finding room for Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé will not be a problem financially, Atlético, Barça, Sevilla (€155m) and Real Sociedad (€144m) complete the top five.

Surprise package Girona’s limit remains at €52m, the 15th highest in the league, while Alavés have the division’s lowest cap at €31m.

The limit is roughly determined by the difference between a team’s revenue minus non-sporting outgoings and debt repayments.

The final figure accounts for the maximum amount clubs should spend on wages, bonuses and amortisation payments on transfers across a season, not how much they are necessarily spending.

In addition to the costs involved with running the men’s first team, it also covers spending on other teams, such as the reserve teams, women’s sides and basketball setups.

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