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EXPLAINED: La Liga Salary Cap rule and how it has affected FC Barcelona

The only news making rounds on social media and in the sporting world is that Lionel Messi is set to leave Barcelona. The reason is that due to the La Liga Salary Cap rule, Barcelona will not be able to register Messi.

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Last updated: 06.08.2021
La Liga Salary Cap rule explained

The only news making rounds on social media and in the sporting world is that Lionel Messi is set to leave Barcelona. Yes, you read that right. After 17 seasons with the Catalan club, their talisman is set to leave. The reason is that due to the La Liga Salary Cap rule, Barcelona will not be able to register Messi. The Argentinian whose contract expired on 1st July 2021 was set to renew with Barcelona, but due to the La Liga regulations, that will not happen.


La Liga has a fixed salary cap limit which every club needs to follow for financial fair play (FFP). Salary Cap is the maximum amount that a club can spend on the salaries of players, coaches, trainers registered with the first team. Compared to last year, the salary cap for the top 3 clubs Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid has been reduced by almost 50%. Also, due to the pandemic resulting in a weak financial situation of the clubs, adding to the closure of the stadiums which result in gate receipts has seen a heavy hit on club and league’s revenue.


Before the start of the season, the wage cap limit was fixed at 2.33 billion euros which was already 610 million euros less than the last year. However, due to the need for more readjustments, the 2.33 figure had to be reduced more which now stands at 2.24 billion euros. La Liga had planned on bringing fans back to the stadiums but the plan did not go through. This resulted in no reduced debt for the clubs and increased financial problems.


Javier Tebas, the president of La Liga had said that Barcelona would need to waive off 200 million euros of their salary cap from last season to register new players, which also included Messi since he was a free agent. Having already suffered a loss of around 580 million euros since last season, Barcelona needed to reduce their wage bill from 387 billion euros to around 145-150 billion euros.


Joan Laporta, the president of Barcelona, had been trying to reduce to salary cap through different means which were possible. One of them was reducing the salaries and asking players to take more wage cuts, after the one which they had taken last year. Griezmann, Alba, Busquets are some of the top earners at the club who were asked to reduce their salaries. Messi, who wanted to renew as well agreed to take a 50% wage cut to re-sign.


Another problem for Barcelona was their squad size which was bigger than 25. They had to limit their squad and looked for possible way-outs for players such as Samuel Umtiti, Philippe Coutinho, Trincao, and Pjanic. However, they weren’t successful in doing that either as the players did not want an exit or the right price never arrived. All these meant, the registration of new signings such as Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, and Eric Garcia needed to be stalled.


Messi, however, was ready to sign a new contract and negotiations were reportedly in place until La Liga communicated to Barcelona that registering the player will not be possible. The Catalan club which is in deep financial troubles with a debt of over a billion had to stop the negotiations since it did not get approval from the league.


The next step for Barcelona will be to look for ways to register Aguero, Depay, and Garcia.

So, as it stands and is now officially announced, Lionel Messi will not play for Barcelona next season. Perhaps, a reason such as a salary cap hindered Barcelona’s plans but it was their wage cap that was over the limit. Overpaying players during Bartomeu’s presidency which resulted in huge debt and the pandemic losses has brought us to this fate.

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