The general director of FC Barcelona, Ferran Reverter, will leave the Barça club due to discrepancies with the president Joan Laporta, an internal conflict whose trigger has been the sponsorship agreement: the main one with Spotify, which has not yet been made official, and another with a cryptocurrency company rejected by the board. The top executive of the Catalan entity, in any case, has negotiated an agreed exit. “He leaves office for personal and family reasons,” the club said in a statement. Reverter, however, will not leave Barcelona until the club recruits a new CEO.
After Reverter eased financial problems and cut expenses, he focused his efforts on adding revenue. The most urgent matter was to get a new sponsor for the club shirt. Rakuten’s contract expires this season, as does Beko’s. After several months of negotiation, the CEO reached an agreement with Spotify. Last week, Reverter was in Miami to close the deal. The multimedia services company, in principle, will be the main sponsor of the Barça shirt and the secondary sponsor of the training jersey, both in the men’s and women’s first teams. In addition, it will have its place in the Camp Nou. It won’t be the namenaming rights) but the surname (title rights) of the stadium. “It is less money, but it is an option that suited us because it is a medium-term operation,” explains a source from the economic area.
Reverter and his team were also looking for a successor to Beko, which sponsors the men’s first team training sleeve and jersey. But here the problems between the general director and Laporta became more acute. After refinancing the short-term debt and obtaining the credit for the construction of the new stadium, both operations agreed with Goldman Sachs, something began to change between Laporta and Reverter. A colder relationship, especially since Barcelona managed to get rid of the guarantees when in January the club withdrew the one from LaLiga, after the approval of the royal decree that exempts the members of the boards of directors of professional clubs that are not companies companies to present a guarantee of 15% of the budget of expenses.
“I had no problem leading the club when half a board left me. I am not going to have problems now, ”the president told his closest circle, referring to the problem he had in 2005, when Sandro Rosell, Josep Maria Bartomeu, Jordi Monés and Jordi Moix left the board. In 2008, Laporta suffered another managerial flight when another eight left the Camp Nou, led by Ferran Soriano, the current general manager of Manchester City.
Some members of the Laporta board were not convinced by the agreement that the area of marketing had managed with a cryptocurrency company to replace Beko. “It is very hard when you spend a lot of time negotiating an agreement and it is thrown overboard from one moment to the next, without a reasonable justification. The situation of the club is what it is, ”explains a source from the economic area. And the conflict between Laporta and Reverter skyrocketed. The CEO felt weak in the offices and in his bargaining power. He chose to say goodbye.
Reverter joined Barça on July 1, 2021, more than three months after Joan Laporta won the club’s election in March. His main objective was to redirect the economic and financial situation of the Barça entity, overwhelmed by short and long-term debts (1,350 million in total), in addition to reducing expenses after the drop in income as a result of the pandemic. “Almost a year ago I decided to leave Germany and return to Barcelona for family reasons and shortly after I accepted the challenge that President Joan Laporta offered me to lead the executive area of the club,” explains Ferran Reverter in a message published on the Barcelona website. “These months have been exciting and I thank the president for his confidence and, especially, his enthusiasm and leadership capacity so that FC Barcelona now has a top-level management team capable of repositioning Barça as a world leader. Personally, I have put in a lot of effort and dedication during these months, but now I want to focus on the purpose for which I came back to Barcelona, which is to spend more time on personal and family projects”, says the former CEO of the German television network MediaMarkt stores.
Reverter was endorsed by the economic vice president, Eduard Romeu, one of the main supports of the board through the renewable energy company Audax. Reverter and Romeu, together with the director of football, Mateu Alemany, worked on one of the cardinal issues for the new board, which was the reduction of the salary mass of the first team. In fact, they were the ones who opposed the renewal of Lionel Messi, before Laporta chose to let Rosario go when the contract was already agreed.
According to Barcelona, since his arrival, Reverter “has led the club’s transformation project and the 2021-2026 Strategic Plan, in which he has achieved goals such as debt restructuring, approval by the members of the financing of the Espai Barça, the reduction of the wage bill or the agreement with new sponsors, among others”.
Reverter, a graduate in Economics from Pompeu Fabra University, came to Barcelona after running the MediaMarkt company. Laporta was looking for a tough businessman rather than a club person, a profile more similar to that of Antoni Rosich, general manager during his previous stage, than that of Òscar Grau, Josep Maria Bartomeu’s last great executive. Now Laporta loses his general director and will have to rethink how to continue the restructuring of Barcelona. It won’t be the first time it’s happened to him. In his previous stage, Laporta lost the general director Anna Xicoy and replaced her with her confidant, Joan Oliver.
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