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Act to help parents in financial limbo as soccer academy shuts

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Hundreds of families in Sydney and Brisbane have been left upwards of $250,000 out of pocket after the abrupt closure of Spanish soccer club FC Barcelona’s two private youth academies in Australia.

Last week it emerged hundreds of families in Sydney and Brisbane have been left upwards of $250,000 out of pocket after the abrupt closure of Spanish soccer club FC Barcelona's two private youth academies in Australia.

But Brisbane Roar have stepped in to try and kick a goal for affected families.

More victims of the Barca Football Academy have come forward including one mother who has lost $28,000 alone as the company continues to trade.

These parents are calling for their money back for a tournament in Spain and training in Brisbane that never happened.

Single mother of six Bebe Monaghan saved up for a year and refinanced the home just to make the dream a reality for her son Hunter, it cost them $28,000 all up.

"I sort of keep thinking this isn't real, this is a huge company, a huge football company with millions in profit, this can't really be happening," Ms Monaghan told 9News.

Barca Academy has blamed coronavirus for the club folding.

But 9News understands, Barca was struggling financially for months before the pandemic broke out in January this year.

The organisation was thousands of dollars of rent in arrears for its facilities at Pine Hill Football Club.

It paid the outstanding balances, after several demand notices were sent, about the same time parents started paying for the trip.

"There was a change in one of the managers, one of the higher managers, and he was pushing for the payment," one of the parents, Ray Gallardo, said.

It has been a week since Barca Academy told parents it was filing for insolvency. But ASIC still hasn't received any paperwork.

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All up, some 70 parents estimate they're owed around $350,000.

Now, Brisbane Roar is stepping in to help out those families left high and dry by Barca's collapse.

The organisation is offering every former Barca player a free season of training with their own Roar Academy.

"Provide these young kids and their parents some reprieve, and a little bit of hope they can get some football in this year," Roar Chief Executive Daivd Pourre said.

"They're one of the top teams in Australia and we might get a better opportunity," Former Barca Academy David Gullardo said.

But it won't get the parents their money back.

The Office of Fair Trading and ASIC has asked parents to make a formal complaint, so they can investigate Barca Academy.

Source: 9News

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