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PRESS TALK: September 3

Al Nassr Announce $26 Million Budget Deficit.

Al-Riyadh newspaper – Saudi Arabia


They Said:

In their annual general assembly, Al Nassr FC announced the budget figures for the financial year ending June 30th, 2015. Revealing the achieved break-even over the abovementioned period with both revenues and expenditures sitting at approximately SR196 million ($52.2 million). However, the club announced they expect earnings for the financial year ending 30th of June, 2016 to drop to SR101 m ($27 m) while expenditures will slightly increase to SR200 m ($53 m) meaning they will face a budget deficit of SR99 m ($26 m). This deficit is expected to be recovered in the following financial year.

We Say:

Regardless of the quoted budget figures, it is an encouraging sign that a Middle Eastern club has taken the initiative to be so transparent about their budget figures and it would be great if more football clubs follow the example of Al-Nassr. However, looking at the budget figures themselves, it is baffling that Al-Nassr (a team that has spent several years without major silverware but now back with back to back league titles and playing Champions League football) are expecting a drop in revenues rather than steady growth. The team which still manufactures their own kits, should look to sign a lucrative deal with a global provider similar to the one their arch-rivals Al-Hilal enjoy with Nike. This could be just one of many opportunities the team could pursue to benefit from their rising popularity in Saudi and beyond over the past few years.

Al-Ahli’s Abdullah Al-Mayouf Crisis Averted

Arriyadiyah newspaper – Saudi Arabia


They Said:

Al-Ahli FC are set to reach an agreement with their goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf within the next couple of days. The player is expected back in training following a meeting with the team’s Swiss coach Christian Gross. The 28-year-old GK had announced he plans to move from Jeddah to the capital Riyadh [1,000 km to the east] for family reasons. The player had contemplating retiring from the game for a while but was persuaded be his representatives to dismiss this idea. Al-Mayouf is now set to honour the last remaining season of his contract before making his move to Riyadh.

We say:

It is certainly a loss for any team when their main goalie decides to move (Just ask Manchester United). What is more interesting, though, is the fact that such a young player (in terms of GKs), would seriously contemplate retiring from the game. Reports have suggested the cited “Family Reasons” being that he is married to Riyadh based businesswoman whose income is apparently much more significant that the player himself prefers to invest his career earnings so far with her rather than continue playing professionally.

Clubs Call For Dissolution Of The Pro League.

Oman Sports – Oman


They Said:

In a surprising development ahead of the new season, a number of the top flight teams have signed a memorandum asking the Omani FA to officially abandon the professional league system and return to the previous “Elite League” after what they described as “Failure to turn professional”. The teams including, Al-Orooba, Saham and Dhofar said they are unable to financially support a fully professional team with dwindling revenues and rising expenses. This memo which is believed to be supported by all the top flight teams, comes after the Omani FA announced earlier it will no longer provide the clubs with an annual subsidy of RO5,000 ($ 13,000).

We Said:

The Omani league continues to struggle to establish itself, even when compared to the lower level Middle Eastern leagues (Bahrain, Syria). Oman is far from a poor country and it boasts one of the highest number of local amateur football players in the region as well as a passionate fan base with strong club affiliation (something countries like UAE & Qatar struggle with). Mismanagement and lack of a clear vision for the league have continuously hampered the growth of club football there. Unlike the national team which has benefited from a golden generation led by the likes of legendary goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi. The fact that top tier teams are calling for the league to be called off over a subsidy of just $13,000 a year speaks volumes about the current state of affairs in Omani club football.

Tractor Sazi to continue with Toni, denied negotiating with Firouz Karimi

Iran-eh Varzeshi Newspaper- Iran


They Said:

In the last few days, a lot has been said about the end of the road for Tractor Sazi and Toni Oliveira, and in the last day or two rumours were heard of negotiations between Tractor Sazi and a few Pro League managers. In Tabriz there was talk of Firouz Karimi, although the Tractor Sazi officials haven’t reacted to this issue, but in reaction to this rumour, Ghaznavi has said: “People like to create controversy for Tractor Sazi so they’ve brought up these issues. Toni Oliveira is doing his job in the best possible manner and there is no discussion of the presence of Karimi or any other manager at Tractor Sazi”

We Say:

We believe Tractor Sazi haven’t quit managed to recover from the drama at the final day of last season. Results haven’t been great but Toni oversaw a complete overhaul of the squad during the summer with some big name signings coming into the club. With so many changes including 4 foreign players, it is hard to get all the players used to his style and tactics in such short amount of time. But Tractor Sazi’ hierarchy will feel the pressure from outside if results don’t improve, especially with the recruitment of Foolad’s Soroush Rafiei and Bakhtiar Rahmani due to their conscription status, which brought a lot of criticisms to Tractor Sazi. We know the men in charge of the club will not think twice to change managers, as we sat last winter with the dismissing of Rasoul Khatibi. Firouz Karimi is a good manager with a lot of experience, he is the last manager to lead an Iranian team to AFC Champions League triumph but there is a lot of questions over his methods and his appointment will surely bring more controversy to Tabriz with no guarantee of success.
Crisis got higher, 48 hour deadline given to the club by players

Iran-eh Varzeshi Newspaper – Iran


They Said:

In response to all the unanswered phone calls in the last few days and weeks, Persepolis players ignored the calls of club officials – and not directors – who wanted to ask for more time. As soon as they heard what the players are planning for, they began to get in touch and request for a few more days to pay them their delayed payments. The players’ threat scared them so much that they sent a message to them saying “if you don’t give any interviews, part of your payments will be paid by Thursday”

We Say:

Persepolis is a club gripped by poor management for a few years. A disastrous start to their season, and now players threatening to go on strike due to not getting paid on time, it hasn’t been the best of times for the fans. Unfortunately, these instances are very common between the two Tehran giants – Esteghlal and Persepolis – and the players constantly complain about the broken promises of club directors. Branko Ivankovic, the Persepolis manager, has praised his players’ patience. Of course he’d be concerned, thinking about how to deal with problems on and off the pitch. Poor management has cost this club as well as Esteghlal dearly in the last decade or so, incompetence at a financial and technical level is very high and if these two clubs are to return to past glory, these basic problems shouldn’t be arising and players should only worry about their performances on the pitch, not having to think about whether their payments will be made on time or not.



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