November 18, 2022

Former Secretaries of State for Youth and Sports reflect on "The Reality of Professional Football"

The Thinking Football Summit 2022 kicked off in great style and proceeded, this Friday, with a debate between former Secretaries of State for Youth and Sports: Laurentino Dias, Emídio Guerreiro, João Paulo Rebelo, and Hermínio Loureiro.

Under the theme 'The Reality of Professional Football (Financing and Competitiveness) - My Experience', Laurentino Dias kicked off the conversation, explaining that there should be a "greater collaboration between political and sporting leaders".  He began by saying, "There should not be separation, but mutual respect and understanding for the progress and prestige of Portuguese Football".

On the other hand, he also showed concern about the "gigantism of organizations, such as UEFA or FIFA, in feeding the competitions they promote, especially financially, conditioning the countries' federations and associations."

Emidio Guerreiro, meanwhile, emphasized the importance that should also be given to the less prominent sports, as well as the support that must exist for them to grow in today's society.

"Football has huge relevance in the sporting landscape, which benefits its biggest protagonists, namely the players. We must create infrastructures in order to enhance the quality we have. There should be more support, not only to develop football, but the other sports as well. Placing sport, as a whole, on the political agenda and giving it more prominence", he said, at the Arena Stage.

João Paulo Rebelo spoke about an absolutely crucial question in today's sport: broadcasting rights. "Football generates great income, and it is necessary to be more competitive. The TV broadcasting rights are a crucial factor for this improvement, given that they are the biggest part of the Clubs' revenues," he explained, stressing his theory:

"On the other hand, there must be greater cooperation between all the stakeholders for Portuguese Football to be even better and to come closer to the biggest European leagues."

Lastly, Herminio Loureiro praised the groundwork that is done in Portugal for Professional Football, despite the lack of support from the political class. " They perform fantastic things and the people involved are real heroes. With the exception of when you win, football is not treated well by the political world. Portuguese football needs public financing, whether it be for the requalification of infrastructures, support for youth football or for players and coaches", he concluded.