March 07, 2021

Thinking Football Webinar: "Sporting Societies and Investors (PART 1)


Investors in the Sports Societies under evaluation


Liga Portugal continued to hold webinars as part of the promotion of the Thinking Football Summit 2022, an event that will take place at the Super Bock Arena - Pavilhão Rosa Mota, between the November 18th and 20th, 2022. On March 7th, the Investors' participation in Sports Societies was assessed.

The first session was composed by Diogo Nabais, Advisor to the Secretary of State for Youth and Sport, Miguel Ribeiro, President of FC Famalicão SAD, Guilherme Müller, General Director of Estoril Praia SAD, Paulo de Mariz Rozeira, Legal Director at Liga Portugal and was moderated by the journalist António Barroso, from O Jogo.

Sports Societies and their Investors were, as already mentioned, the main subject, with all speakers stressing the enormous importance of attracting good investors to Portuguese football, something that only happens "when clubs are not under an SOS context of survival". Another aspect to be highlighted is the regulation of sports betting and the concern to completely eliminate "match-fixing", a problem that makes the sport much shadier and "hinders any good investments".



Diogo Nabais, Advisor to the Secretary of State for Youth and Sport

"There are things to be done, but we should not discredit investors. I know there is a general fear among fans, but just think of the example of the Premier League, where the vast majority of clubs rely on big investors. We have had some poor examples, but we have been getting better from a legislative and regulatory point of view. The ideal scenario is for us to create conditions for investors to become credible solutions and not solutions when things have suddenly gotten rather complicated."

"The 2013 intervention, in which Guilherme participated, was one of the major transformations of the Sports Societies. The fact is that in recent years more investments have been made in our country. In 2017, it was necessary to address the law on 'Integrity in sporting competitions' in order to improve some existing frameworks."


Miguel Ribeiro, President of FC Famalicão SAD

"I don't identify with the word investor in the slightest. FC Famalicão are 15% owned by the club and 85% by Quantum Pacific Group. There is indeed an investment. We invest in our various departments, in our football team, for our operation to be profitable and sustainable."

“We believe in the potential of this country and league. And believing means regulating, governing and being able to compete within a sustainable and healthy competition. FC Famalicão are a big company in Famalicão, Vitória SC are a big company in Guimarães, SC Braga are a big company in Braga and so on. The football industry is meant to last and it is meant to evolve. The basis of all this being passion. And the people. This city breathes FC Famalicão. But of course we are also a company that operates according to a set of rules."

"The key to our operation was a good underlying relationship between the club and the SAD (limited company). And this good relationship is essential. One thing that helps is that no contacts are made in an emergency situations. Taking into account the will and the ambition to make FC Famalicão flourish, this was something that was planned and based on a vision. It was not a desperate resource, something that often leads to unfortunate situations. We have turned FC Famalicão a top-tier club in the Second Division. And that was very important for our immediate growth. This is a football industry. The results are shown on the pitch, which within our offices we do everything we can to improve them."


Guilherme Müller, General Director at Estoril Praia SAD

"Estoril Praia were in a very difficult situation in 2010. And the investment made at the time allowed the SAD of Estoril Praia to obtain a structure it didn't have. The investor was thus a very important contribution to us. We have to find ways to keep away bad investments, as good investments are extremely important to raise the level of Portuguese football. Estoril Praia, who have an excellent relationship with the founding club, are one of those cases and have an investor who knows perfectly well the role of Estoril in the community and respects that and our social responsibility principles."


Paulo de Mariz Rozeira, Legal Director at Liga Portugal

"To talk about investors is to address a very relevant issue in terms of transparency, competitive balance and stability of competitions. From the 2014-15 season, all Sports Societies began to identify that individual person who holds a qualified interest in a particular Sports Society. Our perception in the League is that we have a very solid foundation."



Diogo Nabais, Advisor to the Secretary of State for Youth and Sport

"We should be more specific and clarify some issues. We are basically trying to promote the transparency of competitions, improve the framework of the reputation of investors, not allow incompatibilities and clarify the framework related to the clubs and Sports Societies."

"Investments should be credible solutions, not necessary solutions. When they occur in rescue situations, the same negotiating capacity does not exist. The way forward is to continue to improve our framework. And people need to have a better understanding of the reasons that justify state intervention. Although I understand that football has a strong media impact that no other industry has, there are around 48 hours a week of TV programs dedicated to football debate."


Guilherme Müller, General Director at Estoril Praia SAD

"It is by discussing these issues that we can evolve and develop football further. This is a very appealing League. I strongly believe that it is possible for us to find the right path towards transparency and integrity."

"We still need to make some adjustments since the time when changes were made in 2017. Football has changed and the League must continue to define rules that complement that statute. After a period of time, it is natural that there should be an adaptation. Knowing that reality has changed."


Paulo de Mariz Rozeira, Legal Director at Liga Portugal

"It was announced this morning that Liga Portugal should have a say, namely a legal right to oversee the upcoming investments. Not only the people involved, but especially to assess the investment projects. Whether these are sustained, long-term projects, and whether they will actually benefit the Sports Societies."

"We are very demanding and always want to improve. But we currently have a very positive reality. We have two great examples here at this webinar. We always have the will to do better and, on the other hand, we want to ensure that these successful cases are not merely a matter of luck. Portuguese football has created conditions and has the tools to make all projects along the lines of the ones we have just given as good examples."



Diogo Nabais, Advisor to the Secretary of State for Youth and Sport

"Sports betting began to be regulated in mid-2015. A sector that has been growing tremendously. We increasingly see football associated with crime phenomena, unfortunately. And more than money laundering phenomena, I am referring to 'match-fixing', which requires ever greater scrutiny. Being that scrutiny and thoroughness also attracts good investors."


Miguel Ribeiro, President of FC Famalicão SAD

"The centralisation of television rights is only the first step, as we cannot think that everything will be solved immediately. Instead, it will allow for internationalisation, the access to greater revenue and create more value in our competition. And the higher our revenue, the more capable we will be to invest."


Guilherme Müller, General Director at Estoril Praia SAD

"These new phenomena are worrying. More than a rigorous regulation, something that will drive good investors away is if they see Portugal as a country that is not concerned with match-fixing, illegal betting and the piracy that disrupts television rights. Portuguese football is very appealing. But we all have to stop for a moment and think about what ways we are going to continue to attract good investments."

"Liga Portugal has been able to put self-regulation into practice. And, together with the Sports Societies, they have given credibility to Portuguese football."


Paulo de Mariz Rozeira, Legal Director at Liga Portugal

"It is clear that self-regulation does not regulate everything. But Liga Portugal, in the case of match-fixing, has aggravated the repercussions. It is a tremendous risk for anyone committing this felony."


Click here to access the summary of the second part of the webinar