Barcelona’s chief executive Ferran Reverter has resigned after seven months, just as the club are expecting to announce a €280m (£236m) deal with Spotify for the title rights on the redeveloped Camp Nou and shirt sponsorship.
The agreement with the music platform is understood to be worth that over three years, with the men’s and women’s team carrying the company’s logo on their shirt. Spotify would also become the first holders of the title rights – known as a “surname” – for the stadium.
The deal would come into effect this summer when Barcelona’s contracts with their primary sponsor, Rakuten, and secondary sponsor, Beko, end. The Rakuten shirt deal was worth €55m a season. Barcelona would not comment on the new agreement which is expected to be announced this week.
The club said that Reverter had resigned for “personal family reasons” but the timing was striking and the Catalan radio show Què T’hi Jugues suggested that he had had a series of disagreements with the president, Joan Laporta, the latest of which was the Spotify deal and his attempts to secure a secondary sponsor for the sleeve.
Reverter had been at the heart of negotiations over primary and secondary sponsorship deals, with reports suggesting that he had conversations with a cryptocurrency company only to encounter opposition from the club’s board.
Spotify faces a controversy after the singer Neil Young demanded the removal of his catalogue from the platform because of the continued presence of the podcaster Joe Rogan, whom he accuses of spreading misinformation.
Reverter, the former CEO of the German retailers Mediamarkt, had been Laporta’s first “signing” as president of Barcelona. He arrived with the backing of the vice-president Eduard Romeu, whose energy company Audax had provided the economic guarantees that allowed Laporta to take the presidency.
Reverter was at the heart of the administration’s attempts to resolve the financial crisis it inherited, Laporta last week saying that €159m had been cut off the wage bill. Reverter and Romeu were among those most opposed to Lionel Messi continuing at the club at a time when the wage bill was more than 100% of annual income. He was a firm defender of the super league project and the Espai Barça stadium redevelopment, for which the club took out a €1.5bn loan from Goldman Sachs.
A statement from Barcelona thanked Reverter for a series of “targets met”, including the “restructuring of the debt, the approval by the fans of Espai Barça, the reduction of the salary mass, and agreements with new sponsors”. He will continue until a replacement is found.