Luis Manfredi, Luís Mendes and Francisco Salgado Zenha at the Thinking Football Summit
Experts in the financial area, they were the protagonists of the panel discussion "Financial Control: Ensuring Greater Transparency in Football"
On the second day of the biggest Football event ever held in Portugal, there was also room for the panel discussion "Financial Control: Ensuring Greater Transparency in Football", which included the expertise of Luis Manfredi, Director of Financial Control of LaLiga, Luís Mendes, Vice-President and CFO of the Benfica Group and Francisco Salgado Zenha, Vice-President of Sporting CP, in a session moderated by Diana Ramos, Director of Jornal Negócios.
Luis Manfredi was the first to one to speak and highlighted the importance of the existence of regulatory bodies in the area of club finances. "The need to achieve short-term sporting success makes it difficult to be judicious in the accounts. Therefore, it is important to have a regulatory body in the sector so that these difficulties can be overcome.
Regarding the centralisation of audiovisual rights, the Spanish speaker used an example of what happened a few years ago in the main Spanish Football competition. "It is essential that a centralisation project comes with an economic mechanism. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the media rights amounts increased, but without any economic control, which created problems."
Luís Mendes, meanwhile, stressed that "Economic success can only be achieved with the proper management of financial resources and it is essential that Liga Portugal makes an effort to train other clubs that need to evolve in this direction".
"Centralisation is an inevitability. It increases quality. The first thing that is very important for us to understand is how much money is going to be available for us to redistribute. Then, how will they be distributed? And finally, what capacity building is Liga Portugal doing so that the Sports Societies know how to use this money correctly," said the Benfica Group Vice-Chairman and CFO in relation to centralisation.
Lastly, Francisco Salgado Zenha, from Sporting CP, agreed that there is a need for financial regulation in clubs, adding that "there must be a more preventive regulation, as in LaLiga. It is therefore very demanding when it comes to budgeting. If LaLiga considers that the budget presented for the following season will not be able to be met, they will put a stop to it."
As for the future of media rights, the Lions' representative shared his vision. "The other leagues with whom we compete in the UEFA Ranking are top 7 in that ranking and in the Nominal GDP ranking, whereas Portugal is top 7 in UEFA and 22nd in Nominal GDP. This centralisation cannot affect that. We have to make sure that both big and small countries are not left behind," he concluded.
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