Saturday, December 5, 2020

Vega: Football heading for collapse and losing its soul

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 28 Aug 2020

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Ramon Vega says football has been heading for “collapse” for years due to financial mismanagement and action should have been taken long ago as the game is losing its soul.

The coronavirus crisis has had a huge impact on clubs all over the world and many were already in a precarious predicament prior to the global pandemic.

Championship clubs have paid the price for chasing the riches of the Premier League, while Wigan Athletic were relegated to League One after being docked 12 points for falling into administration just four weeks after they were taken over by a Hong Kong-based consortium.

There are concerns more clubs could go out of business and it is by no means only in England where they have fallen on hard times.

Former Switzerland international Vega’s expertise in football and finance has been in increasing demand since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vega, who has forged a successful career in asset management since hanging up his boots and remains interested in becoming FIFA president, is concerned about the state of the game.

The ex-Spurs centre-back told Stats Perform News: “It had been going in the direction of collapse for quite a few years, COVID-19 has obviously speeded that up and put clubs in an even more severe situation. It should have been addressed a while ago.

“The key part is most of the guys had already spent the money before it came it. It’s like having a salary and spending half of it already before you have it. Then if you realise you are not going to get that money you are going to be struggling, as you have no cashflow.

“It’s very much on how the clubs are managed. Obviously, every club wants to be competitive, but it has to be sustainable.

“Over the last 10 years I think it’s been a little bit highly leveraged in many ways; refinancing or getting money from right, left and centre, speculating on potential player transfers to pay back money.

“I think there must be a model in place where there are some reserves in place in case something might happen. Football can be unreliable with how successful you are being and maybe having a bad spell with transfers and being unable to sell players.

“If that income isn’t coming in and you have no reserves, any business in the world would collapse.”

Vega knows having such vast sums of money in the game has also had a positive impact, but he stressed the importance of striking a balance.

Asked if he is worried about the future of football, he said: “I’m a positive person and you have to be. Football always needs money, that’s simple. But football and money doesn’t always have to be at the forefront as it is now.

“In the last 10-15 years, money has improved the game and made a massive difference. That is fantastic, but the soul of the game is disappearing slowly and that is what I’m a little bit worried about.

“The soul of the game, the purpose of the game is disappearing a little bit. It’s become machinery, that’s why you see investors from within the financial industry coming into it, the pure emotions are not there, it is purely an investment.

“The more money that comes into football, the more people who are unemotional come into the game. They don’t invest for the purpose of the game, it’s for the profit.”

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