Sevilla President Jose Maria del Nido has revealed that his club have to ‘shield’ their youth players from being poached by the likes of Barcelona.
Del Nido took time this week to comment on Sepp Blatter’s assertion that FIFA will uphold bans handed to several Barca youth team players for making unregulated transfers to the Camp Nou club.
For the Sevilla President, the Catalans are forcing clubs to overly protect their youth players.
“We have 27 football teams and we have been forced to shield them to try and prevent leakage, mainly to Barcelona, who new Masia just inaugurated a player of ours aged 11 and his brother aged 14,” Del Nido told reporters this week.
“I read Blatter’s significant interview indicating how Barca have had further complaints of theft made against them, which is one way of naming it, of players from the lower levels of other Spanish teams in the last five years.
“That has prompted players in the lower levels to now be paid, when previously they were not.”
Del Nido is an advocate of equality in the distribution of television money in Spain, but also believes that too many of the League’s games are currently on television.
“Television is taking the fans away from the stands and football is nothing without the fans. Against Celta Vigo, of our 30,000 season ticket holders, 9,000 attended, and these means that two-thirds of those who had already paid to gain entry did not attend.
“I hope that the authorities have the power to fix the scheduling, because if not, the broadcasters are taking the audience away from the game. The viewer is a part of the show.
“It is not just at Sevilla, we have seen Real Madrid’s President [Florentino Perez] say how of the 65,000 season ticket holders, only 40 to 45 per cent were attending games at the ground at 10 at night on a Saturday.”
Del Nido also spoke of Sevilla’s plans to reduce their budget by as much as €20m, in line with trying to reduce a debt of around €50m.
“We have to reduce the budget over the next three years from €70m-€75m down to €50m-€55m, the costs of the company.
“We are at risk when running at 20 or 25 per cent above what we make, but there is sense, we have won things in recent years, except for last season, and our obligation is to do so again in the future.
“The reality is our obligation that in the next 10 years we will do the same thing we have just done. It is a difficult challenge that no-one in Andalucian or Spanish football had done before and we are going to do again. That is our obligation and challenge.”