January 2017. A historic moment for me, a derisory moment for football. After 20 years in strategic consulting, operations and corporate finance, passing by the real estate market (Hilton Vilamoura and Conrad Quinta do Lago), tourism (Quinta do Lago, in the Denis O'Brien team) and Angola (Deloitte and Kinaxixi Center), Pedro Proença - who did not know and with whom he never had spoken - call me and challenge me to return to Portugal to lead the marketing area of the League - the great institution that should, and should, organize and promote national professional football.
After four years, with a team working more than 12 hours a day, the feeling is that each step takes us to the same place, with the principle that the sector develops and delivers to a third of its potential.
We are the best in the world and we don't know how to use it to monetize, create wealth and jobs, create structure and plan for the future. We struggle daily with internal wars and do not spend our energies to unite and position ourselves in the world. I often ask myself why this sector is so deficient in the management of human, technological and financial resources?
When I arrived here, and technical as I am, I did a PESTEL analysis of the sector and a Strategic Plan. First difficulty - there was no information, or what was never organized (Liga Portugal was a political organization, did not need statistics and information). Second difficulty - and excuse the expression, "what is this lady who has never seen a ball doing here?" - there were processes that were understood only two years ago, others that I still hope they are.
Today, looking at the documents, the conclusions are the same and very little has changed in what needs to be structurally modified and that Liga Portugal has been claiming, but it is necessary to be careful with what is desired and provoked, because there are places that can lose if you are on the wrong side of the equation.
We will already analyze the sector, but looking at my home during these four years, the main sponsor represented 35,7% of the revenues and today represents 27,7%, which allows his control over the organization to have drastically decreased. This is only possible if there is diversification of the recipes, but this concept is very difficult to assert where the power is of each one and none in particular. Where, when deciding on a new sales channel, a new competition, a new event that will benefit the whole, the questions are constantly the same. Who's there? Who is not? What do I get individually? Access to players and coaches, why?
Thus, the bases of Professional Football are not the creation of wealth, efficiency and sustainability, but political bases, something aggravated by the fact that 300 in 800 million euros of income per year are transfers and, therefore, 37,5% of the attention managers and others in this business, which generates commissions and involves a lot of people, where training to make contacts is irrelevant.
It is agreed that the only organization that can promote Professional Football in an organized manner, both nationally and internationally, is the Liga Portugal, and that this is absolutely impossible with the current system and internal organization of the sector. A client - where audiovisual and commercial rights are purposefully confused - has more power than everyone else and that they own players, and as long as this situation continues, the sector will lose and never win as a whole.
Not to mention the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the football industry, which, in my opinion, are still only tenuous, for now. Within a year, yes, we will already have the real dimension of the damage caused by a deep crisis in a financially and humanly decapitalized sector.
The author writes according to the old spelling.