November 26, 2014
Increasing debt of soccer clubs
It seemed a shock last week when Raúl Gámez (former Vélez Sarsfield president who wants to run again in the club’s next presidential elections) said that Vélez Sarsfield had a terrible debt, increasing weekly, and most of the players hardly belong to the club, but to agents and investors. This means that when they are sold, the club only receives a small part of the transfer fee. This is the case with other clubs, but it was a shock because a well-run Vélez Sarsfield had always been the exception.
Club debts increase year after year and in 2013 the combined debts of current top division clubs was 2,445 million pesos — headed by Independiente with 393 million pesos and followed closely by River Plate’s 384 million. A lot of this money is owed to the Argentine FA (AFA) which loaned without interest and which, instead of taking steps against these debts, encouraged them to increase with their loans. Once President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner did ask why the clubs increase debts while taking more money from TV transmissions. A good question for which she never received an official answer and which was never investigated.
The answer, of course, is mostly bad and fraudulent administration by most club officials, players’ agents who are the real vultures in this story, the AFA which, as usual, cast a blind eye on the what now seems an unpayable situation and its recently deceased president, Julio Grondona, dishing them out cash to make sure of their votes at the next presidential elections.
But there is also this example which must happen at all clubs. San Lorenzo received US$ eight million for the transfer fee of Ángel Correa to Atlético Madrid and among several suggestions was that this should be used to finish the work on their stadium. But taking the government’s example, there was no suggestion that the cash should be used to pay of part of their debt which stood at 234 million pesos last year.
INDEPENDIENTE. A sports court (TAS) last week rejected last season’s appeal and Independiente must pay Olympiacos of Greece US$ 1,8 million for player Leonel Núñez or forfeit six points. The idea is to pay a lump sum and the rest in installments, but will they be able to comply? Last season, Colón received a similar sanction and immediately lost six points which resulted in their being relegated. If Independiente had lost the six points last season, like Colón, they would not have been promoted. That is another case of the AFA arranging results!