• Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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La Liga Impulso helping to discover football talents in Nigeria

Desmond Chiji-La Liga

In 2021, La Liga signed a €2.2billion financing deal with private equity group CVC, to help clubs in Spain access funds to strengthen their squad, debt financing, and facility upgrade.

About 37 clubs agreed to the initiative and benefited from the fund through La Liga Impulso, the venture set up by the league and CVC.

DESMOND CHIJI, La Liga Global Network Delegate for Ghana and Nigeria in this interview with ANTHONY NLEBEM spoke on how Nigerian football has benefited from the La Liga Impulso and also the impacts on clubs in Spain in the last two years.

What is the impact of the CVC fund on La Liga clubs?

The CVC fund has been impactful, and many clubs in La Liga have profited from the intervention fund, this has helped the clubs maintain financial stability.

Clubs like Cadiz, Real Bettis, Villareal, Atletico Madrid, Espanyol, and CD Leganés have benefitted from the initiative, helping them in the growth and development of their football in Spain and other countries.

Like in South Africa, Real Bettis and Espanyol have active grassroots football initiatives to groom and discover young talents.

In Nigeria, Villareal, CD Leganés and Real Sociedad have partnerships with some football academies where young talents are spotted and taken to Spain where they can grow their skills and attract big clubs.

It is estimated to add 0.4% to Spain’s GDP, create 60, 000 jobs, and add €1.247 billion to Spain’s economy.

What is the value of the CVC project and how much has been invested?

The deal is about €2,2 billion and 70 percent of the fund is going directly to the clubs, and these clubs have embraced the initiative. It has also helped the clubs reduce their debts, with about 15 per cent debt reduction.

La Liga is giving out this money based on the projects the clubs are carrying out, especially outside Spain. The idea of the La Liga Impulso project is for the clubs to go out and grow their presence in other countries. La Liga has been doing for the clubs in the last four years, now it’s time for the clubs to take that initiative.

Effect of Real Madrid and Barcelona on the CVC project?

I don’t see Real Madrid and Barconala supporting this initiative, the two teams have always been at loggerheads with La Liga. If you have 44 clubs and about 38 have agreed on the CVC deal, then the remaining few clubs can’t stop the initiative.

The clubs know the value that the project brings to their clubs and how it has helped them grow and stabilise their football. Like Villareal, Sevilla are working to increase the capacity of their stadiums.

The financial economic control in La Liga is strong, it’s just extra revenue generating funds for the clubs.

What impact will the CVC make in Nigeria football, especially in player scouting?

Through the fund, LaLiga is pushing the clubs to select a specific market in any of the African countries and contribute to the discovery of talents for the league.

We have clubs like Leganes, Real Sociedad, and Villarreal, who have been exploring the Nigerian market for player scouting.

All these clubs are focused on the Nigerian market for talent hunt. In the coming years, this initiative will begin to yield fruits for Nigerian players and Nigerian clubs.

We are in discussion with Cardiz, they are trying to get partnerships with some clubs in Nigeria, to scout raw football talents. The club is coming to Nigeria with lots of great things for Nigerian football.

Another thing also is to find the right clubs in Nigeria that these clubs can work with to attract the kind of players they can work with.

There are so many talents in Nigeria, but the clubs will have to select the right players with talents that fit into their philosophy of football.

We have some players that will be travelling to Leganes, last year some players from Nigeria through the La Liga Impulso took some players for training at Racing Santander and some of these players have been signed by clubs in Spain and Europe.

As we continue to engage with more academies in Nigeria, there will be lots of movement of Nigerian players to Spain. Maybe in the next two years, there will be a massive exodus of Nigerian and African players into the Spanish top-flight football league.

How many Nigerian football academies do La Liga have partnerships with?

CD Leganes and Racing Santander have partnerships with some academies in Jos and Abuja, and we are still looking for clubs to partner with Cardiz.

These clubs need to find the right club with structure, when Leganese came to Nigeria, they were impressed with the facilities and the players.

Villareal also have a partnership with City FC in Abuja.

The La Liga office in Nigeria also facilitated the travelling of some Nigerian players from City FC to Villareal in 2023 to play in a tournament.

On getting to Spain, Villareal wanted to keep eight of these Nigerian stars, and we are excited about the future of the academy, the players and the La Liga project in Nigeria.