sport news Coronavirus: Barcelona are furloughing staff despite Lionel Messi and Co's big ...

For a fair assessment of the financial situation Barcelona find themselves in just ask the head of the biggest television company in Spain: Mediapro.

Jaume Roures is a Barca fan as well as the head of the company that owns the international rights of La Liga.

Asked if he thought it was viable for Barcelona to try to sign Neymar, after everything that has happened he did not hold back.

Lionel Messi earns £115m a year and has been made the bad guy despite taking a big pay cut

Lionel Messi earns £115m a year and has been made the bad guy despite taking a big pay cut

Barcelona are suffering financial implications from not generating money from ticket sales

Barcelona are suffering financial implications from not generating money from ticket sales

President Josep Bartomeu furloughed staff despite saying club would earn £1bn this season

President Josep Bartomeu furloughed staff despite saying club would earn £1bn this season

Roures told El Mundo: 'Barca were already suffering a major crisis before the coronavirus. Now they have lost money from merchandising and from their museum – money that they will not get back. 

'It's unthinkable that they can spend 100m or 150m euros that they don't have on signing Neymar or that there is some kind of swap to be done. What could they possibly use to swap for Neymar? Send them Messi? Or Griezmann? These are things that people say to appear intelligent but show completely the opposite.'

So far only four clubs have used the Spanish government's furloughing equivalent 'ERTE' scheme which gives them state help to pay their staff while the crisis lasts. Part of the reason they met with such animosity from the players was that they were the first to join the state aid scheme which involves the government paying up to 70 per cent of temporarily laid-off employees' wages up to a monthly limit of around 1,500 euros (£1,318).

Barca were in financial turmoil before coronavirus but still want to try and sign Neymar

Barca were in financial turmoil before coronavirus but still want to try and sign Neymar

Jaume Roures, who owns LaLiga rights, said it's 'unthinkable' that Barca would re-sign Neymar

Jaume Roures, who owns LaLiga rights, said it's 'unthinkable' that Barca would re-sign Neymar

What was the rush? Barcelona captains Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Sergio Roberto asked. had not applied the ERTE. Would it not have been better to wait to see what scenario awaited Spanish football once it becomes clear if the season will be resumed with fans, without fans, or not at all.

WHAT IS ERTE?

ERTE is the Spanish government's furloughing equivalent. It allows companies to temporarily lay off staff or cut hours, while allowing them to claim unemployment benefits.

For the first six months workers are entitled to 70% of their base salary and 50% from the seventh month.

This is calculated from an average of the previous 180 days' employment and companies can add to the 70% when and if they are able to.

To qualify, a person has to have worked 360 days over the last six years and had their hours reduced by 10-60 per cent. 

An ERTE application can be made for a company's entire workforce or only part of it. The number of those expected to go under an ERTE is at least 760,000.

Barcelona claim pre-crisis they were on course to go past their pre-season target of 1 billion euros in revenue. President Josep Bartomeu said: 'Before February we were operating at an even better rate than we had predicted. It was the highest rate in our history.' So why then the rush to lay-off staff?

The call for state assistance suggests the talk is bluff. Spending 120m euros plus 40m euros in add-ons on Philippe Coutinho and a 105m euros plus 40m in add-ons for Ousmane Dembele has been disastrous for the club. Paying 120m euros for Antoine Griezmann is not being viewed as much better in terms of value for money either.

At first the club seem to be blaming the players. It was easy to make Messi, who earns around 131m euros a year look like the bad guy.

Messi, fuming at the insinuation, eventually went on the attack. It had already emerged that he had donated 1m euros to two hospitals – one in Catalonia and one in Argentina and he then took to Instagram to say: 'It never ceases to

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