Interviews

Q&A WITH FERNANDO VIDAL

29 Sep 2020
Deporís president was interviewed by AS. Vidal talked of signings, the situation with La Liga and the finances after the relegation to Segunda B.

Between Saturday and Monday, Sportpaper AS published a long interview to Fernando Vidal. Deporís president explained the summer signings, the TV rights of the games at Segunda B, the financial situation after the relegation, and the battle against La Liga.

Q: The squad is almost defined with the last signings pending of Somma's replacement. Two spots are available: a senior player and a U-23. What's the plan?
A: With a centre-back, this would be almost closed. We are going to wait until October 5 knowing that there are very interesting U23 players in Fabril who can go up. Even some over 23 who, in a hurry, could fit into this squad. But if something comes out, a white blackbird as Lendoiro said, and if thereís economic capacity, we will not let it escape.

Q: Fernando VŠzquez is playing a with 4-4-2. Is enough with Miku, Rui Costa, Beauvue and Adri Castro from Fabril?
A: I think it would be more than covered. Of course, if someone appears at the last minute to improve what we have, we wouldnít close the door.

Q: And in the end, Borges arrived...
A: It was a pity that Borges didnít come in January, but it wasnít possible due to GŲztepe. He just got married too... Well, now he will have the Spanish nationality more quickly. He is very integrated and this is his second home. He can help us a lot.

Q: Whatís his contract like? The years of duration werenít communicated...
A: Itís a long-term contract. Of sporting bonding and later. Celso is a person who has all the values that we want for Deportivo. Itís a contract as a player and that, after his retirement, he contributes all his knowledge at a coaching level.

Q: Why Miku?
A: Miku is a player that interested us years ago. I'm not looking at the player's ID, but I can say that heís in exceptional physical condition. He remains to be a fast player and has a great punch. He is a top-level player and he is going to help us a lot.

Q: One year and one optional?
A: He signs for a year with and the second for objectives. Both by matches and by promotion.

Q: Was the negotiation for Uche very complicated?
A: Not at all. There were facilities on the side of Standard. The big problem has been that he had many offers of higher level and with more money. In the end we managed to convince him that this project is medium and long term. He is delighted to help with the promotion and make a base team to look at higher heights.

Q: How many years does he sign? Is it conditioned to promotion?
A: He signs until 2024, with or without promotion. What happens is that next year he has different economic conditions than this. The contracts go from less to more. We have to risk everything to get promoted. If we don't achieve it, then another season for Uche at Segunda B will be difficult. It would be necessary to look for a loan spell or a sale. Even with Borges the same thing can happen to us.

Q: Will Keko stay?
A: Iím neither optimistic nor pessimistic. Keko is pending to sign, he hasnít yet done so. If he stays, then he would be a great addition. He has asked us for a bit of time to decide and I think he will decide soon, possibly this week. He is very happy here and I would love for him to stay. We talk to him almost every day, but if an important project with a lot of money appears outside of SpainÖ But we are warned, he has told us that he would understand that we are looking for someone in case that happens. Finding a player of his level is difficult.

Q: Apart from Miku and Lara, all the signings are two and three-year contracts. This is more than an immediate project ...
A: Yes, although some of these contracts are subject to promotion success. If we don't get promoted, the squad will have to be rebuilt.

Q: Who is the bug surprise of the squad?
A: I think we are making a very competitive and more compensated squad than in other years. We have had Somma's resignation that we must cover with another signing. We have two solvent goalkeepers, centre-backs with experience, we have reinforced the left side very well and on the right there is the experience of Bůveda and the alternative of a boy like Jorge ValŪn who is going to improve; we have a lot of faith in him. At the centre. the captain, Borges, Uche and Gandoy, who has a great projection. Together with them Nacho GonzŠlez, a bet from a player who can give us different things. On the sides the youth of Lara, Borja GalŠn and Keko. And in attack three strikers with guarantees. Of the three Rui Costa is the great unknown addition and is a huge striker. He has arrived a little out of shape, but heís a forward with different resources.

Q: What happened to Somma?
A: When he broke his knee against Girona, as has always been done at this club, he was offered the renewal. We even paid for a very expensive operation in Italy. We had the misfortune to go down to Second B and we kept the conditions. He wanted a longer contract and other conditions that we couldnít give him. He had a team from Serie C, the Italian Segunda B and raised his departure. If heís happier like this and he wasnít going to be one hundred percent here, then we prefer that he leaves.

Q: From his environment it was pointed that the conditions were changed...
A: Not at all. He signed for a year and we were paying him the same as in Segunda. He offered to extend the relationship, there were disagreements and then he proposed to leave. We saw that there was no agreement or way to redirect the situation. We want committed players.

Q: Are you afraid that an offer for Mujaid may still come in?
A: Heís a very valuable player for us, and U-23. He has a contract with us, a high clause...

Q: 20 million?
A: High, out of the market right now due to the COVID issue. We havenít had any firm offer. The most serious one was a loan, but in teams in which he might not have minutes. Heís a player from the first team. Only if there isnít something extraordinary for him and that benefits the club a lot, we would look at the possibility of a settlement. We are putting a lot at stake in this promotion and Mujaid must realize that we are all responsible for going down. Some to a greater extent, others to a lesser extent. Those of us who arrived are responsible, those who were here are too, and he, as a player, also has his share of responsibility.

Q: What happened to Gerard ValentŪn?
A: We signed Gerard when we were at Primera Division and he had a clause in his contract that he was going to be released in the event of relegation to Segunda B. We counted with him for Segunda B and we talked to him, but he didn't want to continue. It was neither pleasant nor unpleasant, He embraced to what was in the paper, in that sense it was clear. He decided to go to Segunda, Lugo, and everyone is free.

Q: The fans were hurt, especially by the destiny.
A: It also hurt me a lot that he went to Lugo. But everyone is free to choose their destiny. I wish him good luck.

Q: Satisfied with the squad?
A: I think the squad is very well designed and quite powerful for the league. It must be the squad with players with more minutes at Primera and Segunda. Thereís experience, just as thereís experience on the bench. We are going to face the season with a very high level. There are people who call me and ask me how we can have Uche, Borges, MujaidÖ In a regular league, I would have no doubt about promotion. But in this competition you can win 25 games with a 6-0 score, then lose the game number 26 on penalties and miss the promotion.

Q: Do you see any option of changing the format of that final playoff?
A: At the beginning, it will be played in a fixed venue and only in one match. We have told the Federation that playing for the full season in one single game is almost suicide. You can have a bad day and ... There must be a double chance, or an advantage for those who are first in their groups ... I think this is not closed and that everything is, and will be, highly conditioned by how the pandemic goes. Let's fight it. I want to have a meeting with Rubiales to show our concern and see how this situation is.

Q: And does this concern or proposal have a return from the Federation?
A: Yes. We have already spoken with the Galician federation. In addition, it isnít just an idea of Deportivo, there are more teams. Several of those who are supposed to be at the top also want more guarantees. The little ones, logically, prefer that there may be that surprise. And itís that anyone has a bad day. For example, this year we couldnít win at the field of Unionistas. Getting there is not going to be easy. If you don't put intensity they will always give you problems. We were already with Fabril in Segunda B not long ago, and we know that itís a very difficult competition.

Q: Complicated and with the label of team to beat...
A: Well, Depor is a great club. It is a great in Primera, imagine in Segunda B. It is out of category. In addition, we have made an effort to make a squad according to the level of the entity. We seek the maximum guarantees, although that doesnít guarantee success.

Q: The person in charge of bringing this to fruition is called Fernando VŠzquez. Did you see it on TVG?
A: I didn't watch it, but they told me something, yes. I'm very happy to see him happy, I was worried about him. The hit we took was huge. The emotional wear and the end of the league was terrible. He takes a lot of self-responsibility. I already told him, what else could we do? We were the best team in the second round, the problem was where we came from, where we got the team. And in the end the adulteration of the competition arisesÖ It affected us all a lot. I was worried because Fernando infects everyone with optimism. Players, fans, the advisors... I am calm after realizing that he is happy.

Q: He said he even considered quitting. Did he discuss it with you?
A: No. I already have experience with him, we were together in the 2014 promotion. We both know each other very well, we have very good chemistry. We know when the other is having a bad day. We complement each other very well. May the results come and may it last for many years.

Q: A message for the fans in this difficult year ...
A: A year marked by health circumstances awaits us, rare as the previous one. But we are already with the batteries charged and reset. With a single objective: to return Deportivo to Segunda as an intermediate step to go to the league we really should be in. But the first step is this year and it will not be easy, because of the competition model. We are working very well in sporting management so that we have the guarantees of sporting success. Then you have to demonstrate that on the field. The hope is at the top and the feeling of pride of this council for belonging to this club that the fans have given us at this time. We have felt hurt and mistreated by so many that itís something that marks the future of the club. Thereís a before and after on a social level that must have continuity on the field. Now you have to win games, without speculation. The only objective is the promotion.

Q: Deportivo starts as a favorite with many important signings. In what budget is the team going to move?
A: It's not closed yet. The effort in the squad is very important, but itís very clean. The property (Abanca) has taken that important step at a very difficult time. Thereís practically no income for anything. Everything has dropped a lot. Subscriptions for COVID, although people are dramatically helping us. But these arenít full subscriptions. The structure of the club is very large, with the female team, the facilities, the academy... We have made a tight squad in which the players have made a huge financial effort to be with us. We have an important advantage to achieve final success, but it will not be easy.

Q: And how much will the budget move?
A: Maybe we arenít the most expensive squad in the league. There are other important teams like Marbella or Hťrcules. We are among the three or four most important teams.

Q: And that in budget is ...
A: I don't like talking about numbers. It will be known when the accounts are presented. Also, it isnít closed yet. It is going to be an important budget.

Q: Is this squad, by cost, from Segunda B or is it closer to Segunda?
A: One of the advantages of this squad, if we are able to move up, that the strong core is already here. Then we will have to put the cherries. It is an economically competitive squad that we will be able to improve in Segunda. We have created it like this. But all the circumstances have to occur, the first is the promotion. Then find those cherries to have options to be able to enter a playoff ... Thatís the great objective.

Q: Where does the club get the money for this?
A: Of the season tickets, the sale of Rolan, the relegation insurance ... Renegotiating with the partners, because nobody imagined that we were going to be in Segunda B. Sponsorships, that the public could attend the games and increase the amount ... Then thereís the property, Abanca, which is a very important factor in all of this. If on July 27 we had not taken this step, we would be talking about something else.

Q: Is Abanca going to put a lot of money? It can be money lost if the promotion is not achieved ...
A: The investment in football, when you are a shareholder, you can recover it in two ways. Selling the shares or improving and distributing benefits when they arrive. Hopefully this goes very well, we would be at Primera very soon, the red numbers go to blue and benefits can be distributed. Abanca does a huge service to Galicia, A CoruŮa, which goes beyond pure business. They enter a team in Segunda B with a monstrous debt, now 35 million less monstrous, but it remains to be at 55 million. That says a lot about Abanca's involvement, also at a time when no one was taking a step in favour of Deportivo. The Deportivismo saw it in the last meeting. There was no other possibility. It was criticized and such ... but tell me how it could be done. And this in a normal situation, then the Covid arrived and ... there is no discussion.

Q: You talk about shareholders. How is the capital increase going?
A: Well, it goes lazy, lazy. I know the figures for the first phase and it wasnítÖ it was to be expected. The moment was very difficult for everyone. That if we were in Segunda or Segunda B, August was like this ...

Q: And the amount is ...
A: I donít have the closed figure and I would lie. Lazy, I don't like to compromise with numbers. Just as the subscriber campaign is being spectacular, the increase is not.

Q: Within that drop in income is television. How is that matter?
A: On Thursday we met with a platform that televises streaming matches and in the next few hours we will do the same with TVG. We are concerned because the decline in television is brutal. From charging between 6 and 8 million to receiving almost nothing. The demotion is terrible. Thatís why the Primera RFEF seems good to me in the future to sell the rights jointly with different amounts than now. But today we are in two scenarios. To see if itís possible to alternate TVG with streaming outside Galicia so that subscribers can watch them for a small fee. We look for a reasonable income within Segunda B and that the fans can see the games. I donít know the plan of TVG, but Depor will make a call effect, because it joins historical clubs such as Racing, Compostela or Pontevedra.

Q: Is the issue of the rights clear? Do the TV rights belong to Depor or the Federation?
A: The rights belong to the clubs, as they are in La Liga, what happens is that they have been transferred jointly to exploit them. The Federation will do the same, but the right time is not here yet. That will be when the Primera RFEF arrives. The Federation already has that intention, but Competition hasnít given them the reason, because there are many clubs with contracts already signed. We will negotiate individually.

Q: Another leg of the club is Depor Ladies, who set the bar very high last year. Is it already self-sufficient?
A: No, all women's football is not self-sufficient at all, but itís a necessity for clubs because of repercussion and demand. But in Segunda B, due to television issues, all the teams are also deficient. You have to pull external investments with advertising and subscribers. We are very proud to have Deportivo Ladies in the Iberdrola league, being aware that it will be very difficult to compete at last year's level. We will give value to that fourth place over time. We have tried to pull our imagination after all the players who have left. We will go from less to more, thatís for sure.

Q: After the economy, we go to court. How are all the demands?
A: Obviously, we are is in the ordinary courts with the resources we have. Both that of the improper lineup of Extremadura and the issue of Fuenlabrada. In this case, the precautionary measures have been denied, but I think it was expected. It was very difficult that two teams, Numancia and Deportivo, could harm another twenty. Then thereís the issue of Tebas before the CSD. Things are slow, but more things will come out. Anyway, now we are already focused on Segunda B and the sporting issue.

Q: How did you live the first matchday at Segunda?
A: I didnít see it. I pass it. I'm pissed off with La Liga football. Neither Segunda nor Primera. I havenít seen anything. I know it's a bit childish, but it's the truth. I'll see it at some point. I have seen a scout with a lot of Segunda B. Soaking up with the squads, what awaits us. The squads they haveÖ I like to know.

Q: Have you felt lonely in this whole war?
A: Externally, yes; internally, no. We have felt very supported by the media, the Xunta, the A CoruŮa city council ... But whatís football, other clubs, we feel helpless. I have realized that we are all alone, and they will be alone too. When they have a problem, they will be alone because each one looks only at its own, their particular benefit. Things will happen over time and they will take that medicine. I am clear about what there is: we are alone in this play. Yes, fellow presidents have called me to support me and there are many others who donít speak. It is normal to stay on the sidelines when you donít care, but someone has insisted on giving opinions of all kinds and has been wrong in excess.

Saquťs? [Lugoís president]
A: Each one will know if something was going or not in the play. In these things you must see if the other party is at least somewhat right. But closing the door like this when everyone knows that the competition is adulterated when you donít compete at the same time ... that alone should make you be prudent in your statements. Constantino Saquťs hasnít been prudent. In addition, he is the president of Lugo, a club friend of Deportivo. Lugo was always loved in A CoruŮa, with all the previous presidents. Saquťs has broken that good tune. Not because of some unfortunate statements, because of various decisions of all kinds. But this is very long. One day you are here, another there. I have a good memory and the Deportivismo too. We will not forget that when you need to be helped, they threw you into the pit.

Q: Some say, Lendoiro among them, that the whole Fuenlabradaís mess should have been solved in a more political way, with more dialogue and underhand negotiation.
A: Augusto is a person with a lot of experience in the world of football, but he also knows in his own flesh that itís very difficult to talk to Tebas. He struck him down as a La Liga ambassador without giving any explanations. One day to another. You could be more political, but he wasnít able. Javier is a tremendously visceral person and doesnít pose a dialogue at all. He gets something in his head and ... He doesnít realize that he is an employee of the clubs, that heís there to solve problems, not to make decisions of all kinds without consulting with the governing body, which is the Executive Committee. I love to talk and discuss. I like short distances and away from public opinion. But Tebas castled from the first minute and left us no choice but to go to battle. Go to the mountains to fight because there was nothing to scratch.

Q: What do you think when you see all the information that has been coming out, and comes out, about the possible link between Tebas and Fuenlabrada?
A: It seems incredible to me that, after everything thatís coming out, and with documentation not with opinions, no one makes a decision. That the Higher Sports Council keep looking up. I don't know what else has to happen. How many things have to come out? This is the Fuenlabrada issue, but surely there are more things that will come out over time. This is a ball that will continue to grow. I don't know how long Tebas will last, but the smear campaign at the level of Spanish footballÖ The fans that he has never valued are the ones who give the feeling to this, and they are against him. Sometimes someone thinks they are on a pedestal and untouchable, but no one is. He has done things very well and others very badly. The Fuenlabrada case is evident. More documents, testimonies, emails will appear ... Someone will have to say "he cannot continue in office" because this is staining the name of football and La Liga.

Q: In this long battle there was a key day. The moment in which the TAD gave all the powers to La Liga to judge. How did you experience it?
A: The day before there was the meeting of the CSD with the Federation and La Liga. You think many things, you think this thing smells bad. A resolution at the last minute, at ten o'clock at night ... It gives jurisdiction to the social judge of La Liga, who had proven his friendship with one of the directors of Tebas in La Liga. We resorted and they ignored us. They gave us 24 hours to plead after having the file open for 15 days. They notify us on a Sunday at noon for Monday at three in the afternoon. Not much of a procedural guarantee, is it? At the same time there is a file opened by the Xunta and he says that nothing, that Fuenlabrada did nothing wrong and that everything goes ahead. This is more typical of a third world country without guarantees. I find it amazing. The CAS decision will be appealed, because it isnít clear that it wasnít competition, and if it is, then the Federation will enter. The Competition Examining Judge made a very extensive report. You will like it more or less, but it is full of proven data, everyone could speak ... It is clear and it collects everything as a very serious crime thatís punished with the relegation.

Q: How did you feel about the Federation not appealing?
A: I didn't understand it and I still don't understand it. Even in the future, because a competition is also discussed. I donít know if it was one of the points of the Pact of Viana, if in that agreement the Federation caught the fingers in some way. It is one of the questions that, when I can meet with Rubiales, I will ask him. Why didn't he recur?

Q: Do you have the impression that Deportivo has been used?
A: Absolutely. We did our thing and the conflict between La Liga and the Federation goes back a long time. We have a totally normal relationship with the RFEF. We didnít expect anything from it, only that it did his job, as La Liga. But thatís something else, because Tebas didnít even give a single moment of dialogue, to say we are going to stop this. He did not blink knowing that he was sending Deportivo to Segunda B, a league champion club, when they didnít compete on equal terms. There wasn't even the benefit of the doubt. But hey, just as his pulse didnít tremble to relegate Elche and now he has endured Malaga. I don't know if they are exactly the same circumstances, but thereĎs also the case with Reus, Murcia or Cůrdoba. Itís normal for them to understand that an injustice has been done to them. La Liga opened files in the post-confinement by protocol to six or seven clubs ... Fuenlabrada, with 28 positives, not even that. It's amazing. There isnít the same yardstick. Those who are docile and accept everything, and then those who are less.

Q: Is the next step to ask for compensation for damages from La Liga? How much are you going to request?
A: Thatís something that I suppose will happen. We are studying and quantifying them, but now I cannot say an amount.

An idea you will have...
A: I can't say it right now. You have to assess everything very well. When we have everything closed, it will be time to cook it.
 

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