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Executive Director of La Liga Fernando Sanz: Real is able to afford anything

Flamboyant defender Fernando Sanz — the son of the former president of Real Madrid Lorenzo Sanz — played for the Royal club at romantic times before accession to power of Florentino Pérez, purchase of Zidane, Beckham, Figo and making of other «galactic» transfers. Today, at the age of 40 years old, Sanz — is a football organization man, the former owner of Malaga and executive director of the Spanish League of the professional football, which comprises 20 clubs of Primera and 22 clubs of Segunda. We met with Fernando in Qatar during the first tournament in Doha among the Spanish football schools, one more evidence of more and more strong relations of small Qatar and world football giants.

Real and Barca are entitled to spend even more, than now

— It's known that one of the key problems of La Liga is an unequal distribution of the television tights between the clubs. The giants of Real Madrid and Barcelona earn much more, and it has been discussed for many times in media. How do you solve this problem? How are things as at the current time?
— We have been worked actually for a long time at this problem, and I want to tell you that we have achieved big successes. First of all, La Liga is becoming more balanced. For example, not only Real and Barcelona shine now in the world arena, but as well Atletico and Valencia. It proves that the quality of football in Spain increases year by year. As far as the television rights are concerned, here we also have an apparent progress. In 2009 the television rights distribution from the first team in Primera to the twentieth one, amounted to 13 to 1. Today, in 2014, this gap amounts already 6.5 to 1. Our plans  — are to achieve a ratio of 4.5 to 1, till year 2017. Now we are working at it.

— Real and Barcelona — are the calling card of Spain. Does a low attendance at matches of other teams affect the goodwill of the championship? For example, that of Granada and Levante?
— One of the reasons why we have opened recently an office of La Liga in Dubai, is exactly in order to increase the popularity of other clubs. Naturally, the entire world adores Real and Barca, but we also have other top class teams. Everybody knows that La Lga — is the football of good quality, with a high competition. One of our primary objectives as of today — is to increase the popularity of other clubs, including that in the Middle East.

— How do they get ready to the financial fair-play rules in Spain? Are you not afraid, that the quality of football may suffer because of these rules?
— We treat this issue very attentively and responsibly. I'm proud that La Liga has become the first league in Europe, which has created a special division to monitor the financial position of the clubs. It has occurred quite recently, in October of 2013. Football must be self-sustaining, I fully agree with it. As early as a couple of years ago the idea of the financial fair-play shocked us. I'm glad that everything is under control. The spanish clubs treat carefully the financial issue, don't run into debts. La Liga has 42 teams, 20 teams among which play in the top division. These rules are the same for everybody. According to the last financial reports of FIFA and UEFA, Real and Barcelona are entitled to spend even more than now. On the whole, the football in Spain does have money.

Bale — an excellent investment

— You yourself played for the team, and your father was that club president. How do you treat the sensational transfer of Gareth Bale to Real for 100 mln EUR?
— In my opinion there were 96 mln EUR rather than 100 (smiling)… La Liga is always glad to accept the best football players of the world in the championship, and Gareth Bale is one of them. Currently Real" has an excellent financial situation, why not then? The club has a big potential for investments. I believe that these are the perfect pieces of news. In my opinion, Bale — is an excellent investment for the club. Not only as to the games attendance, but as well as to the television rights, opportunities for marketing and other business. Real earns much money and may afford anything it wishes. And it also happens because the best players in the world play there.

— You were the president of Malaga prior its purchase by the Qatari sheiks. Was this transaction successful, in your opinion? From one part, Malaga has played in the Champions League for the first time in the history, from other part, they had to close the project very quickly and sell out all the best football players…
— Now it's difficult to comment upon this theme. Well, I didn't take part in the club life  after its sale. When I sold it, Malaga had a good financial position. In my opinion, as at that moment the club needed to develop further, to transfer to a new level. This is precisely why we have arranged to complete a transaction with the investors from Qatar. It's difficult for me to judge what came next … In any case, it's the experience for the club, and I treat with due respect everything that has happened.

Tax for coaches-foreigners? 5 percent from a contract

— In Russia there exists a union of the domestic coaches, which calls on the clubs of the premier-league to trust the Russian specialists. If a club of the Premier-League employs a coach-foreigner, it must pay a tax in the amount of RUR 5 mln. Does Spain have any analogues for it?
— Yes, we also have such practice. There is no any fixed sum, everything depends on a contract. One must pay 5 percent from a contract to the support fund of the Spanish association of coaches.

— In our country there are frequent cases, when ruffians can't be arrested at the stadiums due to weak safety measures and old-fashioned video-equipment. In Spain during a match of the current championship Villarreal — Celta a ruffian cut his way to the stadium and flanged down a block with tear-exciting gas to the field. Have they managed to arrest him and how was he punished?
— It's a very unpleasant situation. Actually La Liga struggles thoroughly with ruffians. As far as this concrete case is concerned, that persons has been found, the law enforcement investigation is in process. Nobody has been punished yet. If they prove that the club has not taken sufficient security measures, then namely the club will be imposed a penalty on. (Let us recall, that this week Villarreal responded expeditiously to one more outrageous incident at stadium El Madrigal. A fan who threw a banana at defender of Barcelona Daniel Alves, is prohibited for the life term to attend home matches of Villarreal —

— In Spartak Spanish coach Unai Emery worked recently, who, may be said, has taken a knock in the Russian championship. At the same time on return homeward, he brought  Sevilla to the winning final of the Europe League and has been called recently the coach of the month. How do you believe, why Unai had misfortune in Russia?
—For example, how should one explain, when the best players are brought to Real, then come and absolutely lose themselves? Sometimes we don't see those factors, which exercise influence upon the situation. It may be whatsoever: somebody disliked a city, somebody's family doesn't feel comfortably in a country and other things. The world of the football is not that simple. In football there are frequent situations when two plus two is not equal to four.

— Do you know that  a Russian man Denis Cheryshev plays in Sevilla, but he is owned by Real? What can you tell about him? How do you believe, will he become a star?
— I know well his father Dmitry Cheryshev. He is a very important player in the history of Sporting. It's pleasant that his son followed his way. Denis — is under the wing of Real, it means he has everything to become an outstanding player not only as part of the Madrilian team, but as well as for the select team of Russia.

— What should happen for the championships of Portugal and Spain to unite?
— Well it's quite impossible! The Spanish championship — is the first one in the world. What for do we need to unite with anybody? It will never happen, and I don't advise any other countries to do it.

— World championship will take place soon, who are your favorites?
— I have the only answer — Spain, Spain, Spain. Other variants may not exist.


Anna Shlyakhtenko-Lidster

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