Barcelona shocked the world when they went on a remarkable spending spree last summer. Despite their burgeoning €1.3b debts and significant losses, their recruitment passed the €150m-mark, and despite La Liga’s salary and spending limits, it was all managed through what Joan Laporta termed ‘economic levers’.
This, of course, was a friendlier term than the sale of assets. The club sold 25% of their TV rights for La Liga for the next 25 years, as well as 49.9% of Barca Studios. It allowed them to increase their income dramatically in the short-term, thus allowing them more room for manoeuvre in the transfer market.
That will no longer be possible though. La Liga are set to bring in eight new rules which will limit how much impact the sale of assets can have on a salary limit. Other sides such as Real Betis were rumoured to be considering selling some of their own assets in order to facilitate new salaries.
As per Sport, La Liga clubs will not be able to sell essential assets, such as a stadium, in order to increase their salary margin.
Teams will be able to sell other assets, such as TV rights, but only providing they account for 5% of their total income. Any excess finance above that 5% will not count towards the salary limit.
New lines of credit, as in assets not currently counting towards their income, will not be subject to that rule.
Selling and then rebuying assets at a beneficial rate in order to gain on the salary limit will be penalised.
Clubs will be required to show that they can pay footballers for two seasons, following the sale of assets, with a business plan.
When players are sold at a lower than market value price or have their contracts terminated, it will not impact the salary limit. Clubs will not be allowed to take on the full cost of a player’s contract in one season, rather it will still impact their salary limit for the duration of said player’s contract.
Those infringing on the limit will have more room to sign players. Whereas previously clubs could spend 25% of what they saved or earned through sales, they will now be allowed to spend 40% of that same figure provided they show a sound business plan for paying those players.
Clubs exceeding their limits will only be allowed to increase their wage bill by 25% from one season to the next.
These new rules will effectively negate any club’s ability to push their financial woes down the line through the sale of assets. At least until the next loophole is found.