Spanish Supreme Court Rules Former Barça President Will Need To Guarantee $31M
Spain's Supreme Court has "dismissed the appeal" made by former Barcelona President Joan Laporta and seven of his directors, and has confirmed the sentence handed down by the Provincial Court that ruled they should provide guarantees for losses incurred in the '02-03 season, according to MARCA. The losses, which occurred during Laporta's first season, total €63.8M. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Barcelona club member Vicenç Pla, who first took the case to court, and has "also ordered Laporta to pay legal costs." Laporta and former directors Alfons Godall, Jaume Ferrer, Alfonso Castro, Joan Boix, Josep Cubells, Rafael Yuste and Albert Perrín "will need to guarantee" €23M ($30.9M), corresponding to 15% of the budget that the club approved for the '06-07 season. According to the sentence, the sum "should have been guaranteed by the board of directors" after having run up a loss €63M at the end of their first mandate (MARCA, 2/11). MARCA also noted Laporta and his directors originally "did not provide this guarantee" because the losses from the '02-03 season belonged to former President Joan Gaspart. Furthermore, given the profits made by Laporta in the other seasons during his first mandate, the Spanish Professional Football League (LFP) "exonerated Laporta and his board of having to provide the guarantee." However, the Supreme Court ruled the LFP cannot have the ultimate word in this aspect since it is a "legal duty" for guarantees to be given for professional sports clubs under the "Ley del Deporte" (MARCA, 2/11).