16 January 2013

Tanzania: Clubs Told to Change Ownership Model

THE outgoing President of the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF), Leodegar Tenga has demanded change in local clubs ownership model to have in place a system that will attract more investments.

Certainly, Tenga said yesterday that there is much to be admired about the current structure that governs clubs ownership and management in the country but still, like all management models, he said it is not perfect.

"The current ownership structure within the local clubs is not investment friendly, I think it's time we come with a new format which copes with the environment and guarantees football development," he said.

Tenga said that the current format in which especially big clubs are 100 per cent owned by members does not give room for them to expand, like is the case in other countries. He equally cautioned that clubs should also not wholly be owned by few individuals.

"For example, the top clubs in the country are totally owned by members and the only source of their revenue is from annual membership fee, gate revenue and sponsors' dependency, which does not help them operates efficiently," said Tenga.

He proposed a rule whereby a certain percentage of the club must be owned by members in shareholding basis, while the other shares could be apportioned to businesspersons, companies or stakeholders who would inject their money for the development of the club and football at large.

This, he suggested will still allow for considerable investment opportunities for private business to invest, while preventing them from having an overall control of the direction of the club. In fact, such is the German's Bundesliga model, whereby a minimum of 51 per cent of the club must be owned by members.

The most apparent advantage to this is that any surplus generated by a club stays within the club and is not used to pay off someone else's debt or to swell the coffers of a non- football business.

"Our clubs should adopt a system which will help them improve their resources and facilities such as owning ultra-modern stadium, pay players good package as well recruiting talented players at any cost from the club coffers not from individual pockets," he said.

He said it is the owner who should mobilise and create a big number of committed fans who will be willing to travel with the team wherever it goes as they will feel attached to the club. Tenga further said that fans are a good source of revenue but he said, in the case of local clubs when it comes to investment it is very rare to see them (fans) coming in for the good course.

"The leadership system in our clubs does not mobilize partners to join hands let alone enrolling new fans who at the end of the day will feel the sense of ownership," said Tenga.

However, recently, Uefa president Michel Platini hailed the ownership model employed by both Spain giants Barcelona and Real Madrid. The two Primera Division giants belong to and are effectively answerable to their fans who are fully enlisted members of the club.

This system, which allows supporters to have a greater say in the running of their club, is most desirable, according to Platini. "I love the management structure of Real Madrid and Barcelona because the members remain responsible for the club and their decisions," the former Juventus man told L'Equipe.

"Both preserve their identity and the popularity of football lies precisely in the fact that there are such strong ties with the fans."

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