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Dubai company offers to write off Barcelona's $1.6bn debt

FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta holds a press conference at the Auditorium 1899 of the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on May 28, 2021 [JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images]
FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta holds a press conference at the Auditorium 1899 of the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on May 28, 2021 [JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images]

A company from Dubai has reportedly come to the aid of FC Barcelona with a $1.6 billion package that could write off the Catalan giant's debts.

A combination of the loss in revenue following the COVID-19 pandemic and years of financial mismanagement has brought the Spanish club to its knees. In the summer it was forced to sell the club talisman Lionel Messi to rivals PSG in a deal that would have been unthinkable a few months ago.

The club's debt is around the amount offered by the Dubai firm. Barcelona has also slashed player wages to see through this period. It was once spending 102 per cent of its income on wages.

The report claims that the conditions of the offer from Dubai would be very positive. If Barcelona were to accept the offer, it would receive the huge cash injection immediately, meaning that the club would be stabilised.

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The question is whether the European giant will accept the offer. Barcelona recently rejected a proposed multi-billion-euro investment and revenue-sharing deal between La Liga and a private equity firm. The deal would have required the club to give up ten per cent of its revenue and a ten per cent stake in most of its business.

Details of the offer on the table from Dubai however are not clear but it's reported that the company would demand a very low interest, making the approach more appealing.

While it's too early to say if Barcelona will accept the deal, the offer highlights the Gulf country's aggressive pursuit of European icons in the sporting world. Abu Dhabi already owns Manchester City, adding Barcelona to the UAE's portfolio would be a major coup.

Saudi Arabia is reportedly eyeing Italian club Inter Milan, while a bid to purchase Newcastle Football Club is not completely off the table

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