President Joan Laporta blames former president Josep Bartomeu as he announces club is in £1.15bn debt
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has revealed that the Spanish club is in debt to the tune of 1.35 billion euros (£1.15 billion), calling the situation "very worrying".
The wage bill currently accounts for 103% of the club's overall revenue.
Josep Maria Bartomeu, Laporta's predecessor, is blamed for the debt, accusing him of leaving a "terrible inheritance".
If Lionel Messi's contract had been extended, the wage bill would have been responsible for 110% of revenue, which La Liga refused to allow.
Last week, Messi confirmed his emotional departure from the Nou Camp by signing a two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain.
"Our salaries represent 103% of the club's total income, that's 20-25% more than our competitors," said Laporta, now in his second term as president after winning March's election.
"The first thing we had to do when we arrived was to ask for a loan of 80m euros because, otherwise, we could not pay the salaries. The previous regime was full of lies.
"Barcelona has a negative net worth of 451m euros - it is a terrible inheritance. What has been happening is very worrying."
In an open letter published on Saturday, Bartomeu defended himself, arguing that financial measures he would have implemented if he hadn't been forced to leave in October would have allowed Messi to continue at Barcelona.
"As is known, our board of directors planned to call elections on 21 March, within the statutory period at the end of our mandate, which would have allowed us to take on and carry out the settlement of the 2020-21 season accounts," Bartomeu said.
"We would then have taken the decisions necessary to avoid arriving at the current financial situation.
"We would have been the only ones responsible for the closure [due to the pandemic] and its consequences, a decision that the new board has not taken throughout these past months, making clear their inaction."
"They will not escape their doing," Laporta reacted to Bartomeu's letter, which he described as "an effort to justify management that is unjustifiable" and "an exercise in desperation".
La Liga only allowed new recruits Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia, and Rey Manaj to register after defender Gerard Pique agreed to a wage cut to comply with salary constraint restrictions.