Interviews

Q&A WITH LENDOIRO

29 Dec 2010
With the annual shareholders meeting taking place on Wednesday, newspaper La Opiniůn interviewed president Lendoiro and he talked of the financial situation of Deportivo. Deporís boss also left an open window for a new signing.

Q: You are presenting a debt of 107 million Euros.
A: Yes. Thatís the gross debt.

Q: And you also talk of 66 million in the net debt by December 31.
A: There are two facts that are happening: one is the gross debt, which is the total debt of the club, and from there it is necessary to discount the debt that other providers have with us. Thatís why we have two amounts that are substantially different. What we will submit for approval is a gross debt of 107 million Euros, which are 83 million of net debt, for the year 2009-10. What happens is that within the last six months there is a decision that reduced the debt, which was the transfer of Filipe Luis to Atletico.

Q: How do you get a reduction of fifteen million compared to last year?
A: Because the budget is also reduced, not only in terms of the players, but also in other expenses. There is a concept in the budget that people donít know too much, it is called amortization, which was very high in recent years, and this year it represents fourteen million. This means that we have asked some money to pay a number of things and gradually we are returning it.

Q:  It seems like the solution, because the income doesnít vary too much, perhaps it is even decreasing.
A: Yes, it tends to go down, so we are reducing the budget in an average of 5.5 or 6.5 million every year and we already spent eight years doing it. At some point we had a budget of more than 80 million; it was when we were at the Champions League, and now the budget is almost 53 million. This reduction is caused by the fact that we are no longer at the Champions League. Most teams opting for a spot on this competition are all above one hundred million Euros. And we have been in the tournament with a pretty tight budget for these levels.

Q: But now...
A: We must have in mind that we donít have the income of the teams from larger cities, it isnít for the selling of ticket or by the socios, it is for advertising, the VIP boxesÖ everything that generates money is more easier to find in a big city.

Q: If there's a smaller budget, then it is assumed that will also produce a weaker team.
A: We're trying that this situation wonít happenÖ

Q: There are clubs with which you canít compete in an economic sense.
A: There are clubs like Valencia, Atletico, Villarreal, Sevilla, and some more that are surpassing the one hundred million and donít have the added problem that we have, which is to cut the budget, because we have a large debt and thatís why we have been without the Champions League. These teams, therefore, have the potential to make top-level signings. Now, we try to get a team with an acceptable sporting level to allow the passage on this kind of ďtrip through the desertĒ so without losing quality, we could be able to clinch the permanence and reduce the debt. The result is that we limit the possibilities for signings, but I think it can be compensated.

Q: Is the strategy to take a step back before you can move forward?
A: It is seeking for a cheap solution that will allow us, in five years, to have a zero-debt situation, pending of the amortization as I said before, because thereís no other way to build up Abegondo, which is fifty years ahead, as the works to improve the Riazor stadium, which are long-term installations. These amortizations have been done little by little over time. At the bottom there will be some debt, but it will be controlled in four, five or six years. And as I said before, I think that rather than take a step back it means to take measured steps, it is evident that these are tough times for everyone, not just for football, and that at some point we could get out of this situation, especially if we sign good television contracts in the coming years, so we will be able to invest more in new players, because after being at the Champions many teams have paid with the Bankruptcy Act. And what we want is to pay what we have to pay, and not to pay the 15% or the half as has happened in some cases. We want to pay for everything, but what we ask to some financial institutions like the city hall and the national treasury, which are the two major creditors of Deportivo, is to give us some facilities to live, because we need more time, not to subsidize or to forget the debt. We donít ask a special thing, only to have some facilities.

Q: Whatís going to happen in the shareholders meeting?
A: I think it will be relatively quiet. On the voting we are having a growing support from the shareholders, as it can be seen by the number of shareholders that supply us with their shares. And we will try to clarify any questions they have. It is one of the few corporations that allow anyone with two shares to speak at the meeting.

Q: Since the situation has improved, will there be a signing in January?
A: Yes, I believe that we will have something. We will try to at least bring something, another thing is that we will be able to do it, because it depends in finding players who are on the level that you want, and itís that it is a tough market. The clubs allow an exit if thereís a large financial contribution and we canít afford it, what we must do is to search and see if we find someone thatís affordable and that can improve what we have. Something that isnít easy to find, because it isnít easy to find superior strikers to Riki, Lassad and Adrian; what we need is to have a bit of luck with the injuries, problem that has marked us. If we would have had the whole team available then everything would have been easier.

 ARCHIVE NEWS DEC/10

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