FC Barcelona president says club’s debt is $1.6 billion

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Barcelona’s president presented a grim picture of the club’s financial situation on Monday, saying its debt had risen to 1.35 billion euros ($1.6 billion).

Joan Laporta blamed the previous administration of Josep Bartomeu for the club’s “dramatic” situation that ultimately led to Lionel Messi’s departure.

Laporta accused Bartomeu of countless “lies” and said he and his board of directors must be held accountable.

Laporta said the club had losses of 481 million euros ($567 million) and was left with a negative net worth of 451 million euros ($532 million), making it difficult to negotiate with players.