The importance of active investment management for financial success in the football industry was the topic of Barclays’ panel debate, ‘The Exchange’, in Cyprus.
Barclays investment specialists Henk Potts and Nick Gordon were joined by former Sunderland AFC Chairman Niall Quinn and former Southampton FC Executive Chairman Nicola Cortese, with Sky Sports presenter Ed Chamberlin moderating, to debate their thoughts on effective investment management and how it is increasingly a challenge to turn success into long-term prosperity in the football industry.
Despite the fact that there has never been so much money in football many clubs and players that have been successful on the pitch are far less successful when it comes to managing their money.
XPRO, a UK-based football charity, estimates that three out of five Premier League football players go bankrupt after retirement and many of the world’s richest clubs are struggling to manage their financial affairs.
In light of this the panel discussed the need for the football industry to develop smart business and investment strategies to take advantage of the opportunities and navigate the challenges that come with the wealth made by some clubs and players and how these could be applied to other industry sectors.
“Football is an international business and that creates problems for clubs including the issues of negotiating across borders and fluctuating exchange rates,” said Cortese.
“Players have a performance-driven career and a complex lifestyle which can involve playing abroad at some stage of their career. This means operating in an international market and an understanding of the macroeconomic climate and currency markets is vital for their financial success.”
For players in particular, Quinn emphasised the importance of a good education to enable them to manage their money.
“Many players, who come into the game at a young age, are not equipped to deal with their wealth. They can be easily influenced which often makes them the target for bad advice and bad decision making.”
Quinn drew on his own experiences as a former Irish international to explain the emotional impact of retirement for players.
“When the stadium lights go off and the roar of the crowd dies down many players aren’t prepared and it can be hard for them to handle. They have been told their whole lives they are set for stardom and all of a sudden it ends. We need players to understand the importance of forward planning and preparing both financially and psychologically.”