Liga Portugal’s chief executive says the intention is “not to take” a euro from current contracts and guarantees the process is “irreversible”
The concentration of audiovisual rights is one of the issues that promise to mark the current state of Portuguese football in the coming years. The issue has been the subject of constant debate on all fronts, namely in Liga Portugal general meetings or presidents’ summits, and was on the table again this Wednesday, in a webinar organized by the body that oversees Portuguese football. and attended by António Tadeia, journalist, Tiago Madureira, executive director of Liga Portugal, Pedro Brinca, professor at Nova SBE and Luís Vicente, president of Apex Capital.
The conversation, which lasted more than an hour, was marked by an opening statement from Thiago Madureira that served as a cue for what followed. In this first intervention, the chief made some assurances in connection with this proceeding, resting the more skeptical with a curious commotion.
“Concentration is not the Robin Hood of football. This is the point of contention that has contributed to the noise there has been about this issue. That everyone can earn more, level up,” Thiago Madureira began, noting that the only way A club earning less is if the market “declines at this stage”.
In addition, the leader also gave another guarantee, that of the execution of the intention to centralize rights. “The debate about centralization is primitive. It’s a debate that shouldn’t even be happening. With all due respect and I have respect for the people who are instigating the debate, I think it’s primitive to discuss the benefits of centralization, what it might bring us . Centralization is going to change the game, it will define football in Portugal. We are not really at the stage of whether or not there will be an alternative path, which does not exist. There is a decree of law that has been passed and it defines this centralization will happen in the worst case in 2028/29, which is when the last contracts expire. In 2025/26, the League must submit a proposal for an ordinance to the government that will identify and determine the conditions associated with the gathering, at most various areas.” he said, continuing with the same idea.
“In 2025/26, the League, in partnership with the FPF, will present a proposal which must be approved by the Government and the Competition Authority. There is no alternative path, there will be no going back. Today, the president of the League said something very correct, that, whatever happened, the clubs would be the first to ask for centralization. There is unanimity. The associations are represented in a company formed to lead the preparation of this work and follow Sub-groups were formed from the legal, commercial and financial sectors. There is absolute transparency in this matter. It is an irreversible process. We are selling the illusion, pressuring anyone, that it can be reversed, it is not true. It will happen,” he added, also pointing out that there is a “unanimous ambition” to study “possibilities to try to get this process going as quickly as possible.”
The analysis of the advantages of the concentration described by Tiago Madureira was agreed by Luís Vicente, president of Apex Capital, who was involved in Valencia when the rights were concentrated in Spain. “All the sports that have become global have been consolidated. If you look at what has happened in football, with the Confederations and the Premier League competitions, the World Cup has been consolidated. The Olympics have also been consolidated, Formula 1 has been consolidated and various championships have started “Follow the Premier League, which today continues to be a success story. The Premier League has been centralized for 30 years and has a product build of many years,” he said, considering the concentration a unique opportunity for many reasons.
“What are we going to change and implement to create a stronger product and combat the very serious and complex financial situation in sport? When we look at UEFA’s figures, we see that football has accumulated almost 12 billion in losses over the last three years. of these losses were caused by a small number of clubs. All clubs should be doing well and this is not happening. There is also a brutal increase in operating costs, player wages. Bank debt has increased by almost 51% and has to we do We have a unique opportunity because of centralization to be able to see and create a sustainable business for everyone,” he added.
On the other hand, Pedro Brinca, professor at Nova SBE, expressed some reservations about the process. “A central negotiation has the potential to generate more revenue. But I don’t believe it will be much higher. According to calculations I made with colleagues, the Portuguese already pay football, according to 2019 numbers, the most expensive price in Europe. proportionally . What room is there to grow revenue?” he asked, almost immediately responding: “I don’t think that revenue growth is significant. It’s not that I don’t think Liga can even improve the product. I don’t think they can to earn money.”
The professor also said that using the example of Spain is “wrong”. “Spain is always used as an example. Which is wrong. Spain always has clubs and players in the final stages. It is not a good example. It has a stage in world football,” he said.
Finally, Pedro Brinka said that he does not see this process as irreversible, mainly because there was another one, namely the fan card, which was also irreversible and was reversed. “The fan card was also irreversible and is no longer. It happens in all conditions and environment. Lagarde [n.d.r.: presidente do Banco Central Europeu] on May 12, 2020 he held a conference talking about the effects of the pandemic, saying that we have nothing to do with it, that the crisis was economic and not health. Interest rates soared and, six days later, Lagarde held a conference to say that wasn’t exactly the case after all. If the associations decide that they do not want centralization, the state will revoke the decree law. This is something that clubs want. Of that I have no doubt. The government did what it did at the request of the clubs and representatives,” he shot back, later receiving a response from Thiago Madureira.
“The fan card is not a similar process. Only Cyprus, Ukraine and us do not have centralized rights. Going in the opposite direction of the highway does not make sense,” said Liga Portugal’s executive director.
Another topic that caused discussion was the issue of the European ranking. In this regard, Thiago Madureira said that centralization will be important as it will create conditions for the teams challenging the Europa League and the Conference League to reach further, which, according to him, will also be important for the challenging clubs. the Champions League. “The growth of medium-sized clubs is decisive for the revenue that affects the big clubs the most. We no longer have teams in the Champions League because we are not kings of the Conference League. The Netherlands collected 65% of the points in the Conference League last year. In the Champions League we scored 61%, but it is important that mid-sized clubs are able to contribute points so that everyone, big and not, can benefit from the rise in the rankings, as well as the revenue generated by European competitions, either directly or through the use of athletes”, he emphasized.
By Pedro Morais
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