Thinking Football Webinar: How to strengthen integrity in football
The last panel of the day counted with the interventions of Emanuel Medeiros, Global CEO at SIGA; Miguel Poiares Maduro, Professor, and José Francisco Neves, Member of the Executive Committee at Allianz. The session was moderated by Nuno Dias, sports commentator
The third panel of the day was comprised by Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, global CEO at SIGA, Miguel Poiares Maduro, Professor, and José Francisco Neves, member of the Allianz Executive Committee. Transparency and football integrity mechanisms were under discussion, as well as the relationship with sponsors.
Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, Global CEO at SIGA
"We are at a critical, decisive moment. The sports industry was affected by the ensuing health and economic crisis. The decline in finances was noticeable across the whole sports industry. There was a leadership, reputational crisis in the wake of FIFA Gate, from which football has never really recovered, and this crisis has compounded what was already being felt. The confidence of the fans, of the consumers has not yet been regained. It is up to the sport, which conveys a message of wanting to tread a path for increased discipline, transparency, and integrity, to take action and show results. There will be a rigorous rating to assess good governance. Reputation is extremely important."
"Our aim is to analyse problems and create a critical mass that can leverage this intended integrity. We had the initiative, the courage to come up with a solution, through regulation, good governance and we started working alongside the only independent rating system that has the support of the whole industry. This is a guarantee that fans, governments and sponsors have a mechanism that conveys confidence to them. Even in 1995, regarding the FIFA Gate case, the only ones who broke with that "gangster culture" were the sponsors. Many attempts have been made, but what has the OECD done, what has the EU done? I wish there was such an independent EU commission, so join us. It is true that sport confers a visibility that is absent in any other activity, but it must renew itself.
"We don't want sponsors to terminate their relationships, but to put pressure on the entities, the governments to regulate and not to be colluding with less clear situations."
Miguel Poiares Maduro - Professor
"Without a set of strong external incentives, ensuring football reforms has a finite capacity. Match Fixing is a menace. 'Operation Zero', known as 'Operation Clean Hands' involved two renowned referees in Belgium and it is unbelievable how people are corrupted for so little, sometimes for a couple of tickets."
"The football governance model and the economic weaknesses in the post-pandemic period, as well as the growing competitive asymmetries, raise difficulties in establishing the necessary reforms."
"Football seems to be under a 'cartelized' sphere of power, we need to rethink the mechanisms of scrutiny of power."
"Selective enforcement of rules leads to a loss of trust. There are no rules to ensure the independence of oversight mechanisms. There is a systemic conflict that football has not yet been able to resolve, either in UEFA or FIFA. At PSG, we had FIFA sending its lawyers to counter the analysis made by FIFA's own independent committee."
"We will only achieve reforms if they are applied from the outside. There must be mechanisms to regulate good governance practices. The only impetus for reform is through the pressure that may exist on the part of the sponsors.
EU at the helm
"I usually say that after my time at FIFA, I shouldn't enjoy football so much (laughs).
"As fans, we should all be more demanding. It may not be a crime, but there are many actions that are morally reprehensible. There will have to be a stringent regulatory body, and I think it will come from the EU. I think there will be much more pressure for EU intervention, especially in the wake of situations like Messi's transfer to PSG. We can't be critical of the Super League and ignore what's been happening in the Champions League, even in terms of the downgrade of internal competitiveness. The gap is widening, and this has to be addressed.
José Francisco Neves - Member of the Allianz Executive Committee
Football owes it to trustworthy brands
"After hearing Emanuel and Miguel, I don't know if I should stay here (laughs). First of all, I'm a football fan. We still believe that, in the end, football plays an important role for brands, an industry they will always be associated with. We have been addressing this issue of integrity and the reputational benefits or losses that come from football. The press conference area was used to discuss and scrutinise a Portuguese football controversy, regarding an Allianz CUP match. I can understand all these negative comments, but when the debate becomes increasingly rational, perhaps it no longer makes sense for brands to be associated with football.
"We have our brand name associated with seven major stadiums, we have a very strong connection to one club, which is Bayern Munich and I want to believe that football also owes something to righteous and trustworthy brands like Allianz."
The people involved in the Football industry have to "come to their senses"
"If there are strong regulators, then there will be no problem. Nowadays, there is no association between club and competition sponsorship."
"Portuguese football leaders have become very prominent people, on a social level. It would be very important if they also realized that that area, in the Allianz CUP, should be solely for talking about football, so we have to adopt a different attitude".
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