PremiumPortuguese league. “Centralization of TV rights must have direct intervention by the State”, defends EY partner

Football Yearbook, a partnership between Liga Portugal and EY, outlines the economic portrait of the industry. For Miguel Farinha, from EY, the theme of television rights is urgent for the football product to become more attractive.

In 2018/19, the football industry contributed 549 million to Portuguese GDP and paid 150 million in taxes. Miguel Farinha, EY Partner and head of Ernst & Young's Strategy and Transactions team, explained to JE how the product can be improved.

In 2018/19, the football industry in Portugal contributed 549 million to Portuguese GDP. What does this figure say about the importance of this industry?
I believe it is an impressive number and a very positive figure compared to the previous year. It is important to note that this number does not yet account for some transfers that were made after 1 July. I say again that it is in fact a very positive number because it reflects some implicit growth: on the one hand there is the value of transfers, there is the issue of television rights that has a significant weight, especially in the smaller teams and on top of that, there is the redistribution of UEFA prizes that had a huge impact on the two clubs that participated in the Champions League.

The 32 SADs paid 150 million euros in taxes in this period. What can the State give in return?
If we look at the total contributions, we can see something that we had never been able to determine which is the weight of the IRS and VAT. These 150 million mean that professional football pays in taxes the equivalent of 86 thousand average monthly salaries for the Civil Service. This is a number that should lead the State to think about an activity that has a significant weight in the Portuguese economy and that, in this sense, should be more protected by the State, not in terms of direct support but mainly in supporting the regulation of this activity. I give the example of the centralization of television rights (Portugal is the only European country that does not have centralized rights) and I believe that the only way this can happen is through direct State intervention. It is up to the State to make that decision and this is an important regulatory issue.

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