Sevilla president Jose Maria Del Nido has warned €15 million worth of players may need to be sold as he announced the worst financial results of his ten years at the club on Wednesday night.
Sevilla's AGM was told that the club's revenues had fallen by €40 million over the last two years due to European failures, as accounts were presented which predicted expenditure of €78 million and income of approximately €53 million for the current season.
"I am presenting the worst results of all my years," Del Nido said. "We have made very risky financial bets to lift the team even though our revenues are down. The deficit of €15 million is caused by losing in Europe to Braga (Champions League qualifying round) and Hannover (Europa League) and not qualifying for Europe last season.
"We have done badly, we have not taken the right road, we have been making mistakes for two years. I am saying that here. Without selling players we will return to the mediocrity of the last decades. I want to aspire to something and not wander through the league without pain or glory."
Sevilla's ninth place finish last season was their worst since 2001-02, and the team currently sit 11th in the Primera Division standings after Monday's disappointing 2-1 home loss to Real Valladolid. Del Nido defended his record over the years, saying the club had spent money in order to achieve unprecedented success including two UEFA Cups and two Copa del Rey trophies.
"Year after year we have come here to present positive financial results, knowing we had to buy and sell without lowering the quality of the squad," he said. "But this team would never have had such recent success if we had not spent more than our ordinary revenues would have permitted. We have shown we are capable of running this club, but it is not easy and you cannot guarantee anything. This is not an exact science."
Challenged by unhappy shareholders and fans' groups, Del Nido, 55, said he planned to continue as president, insisting he was innocent of fraud charges which saw him sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in jail last December - which he is currently appealing.
He also continued his feud with Sevilla's Biris Norte ultras, saying that the local authorities may close the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan should new safety measures in their section of the stadium not be accepted.
"The government delegate and the police have again pressured us about closing the stadium," he claimed. "We are going to have to bring 30,000 people to another province, because we are not taking the necessary measures in the Gol Norte.
"Two young girls recently fell into the moat and ended up in hospital. If their injuries were more serious, Sevilla's directors would have been held responsible. That is why we must take measures, even if some fans do not like them."