surinenglish

"Malaga CF could go under if measures aren't taken soon"

José Luis Caminero and Joaquín Jofre (foreground) address the press.
José Luis Caminero and Joaquín Jofre (foreground) address the press. / SALVADOR SALAS
  • The club's legal representative Joaquín Jofre and sporting director José Luis Caminero offered explanations about the current state of affairs at a press conference on Monday

  • With debts of almost six million euros, the club had to outline its viability plan to La Liga last week with changes to staff, the squad and commercial activity expected

Expectation was enormous as Malaga's legal representative, Joaquín Jofre, (who some consider to be the acting chief executive) and sporting director José Luis Caminero took their seats in the press room at La Rosaleda stadium on Monday. After a disastrous end to the summer transfer window, which left four players (including the departed Shinji Okazaki) unable to be registered because of wage cap limitations, Malaga must now carry out a series of measures to ensure the club stays afloat.

The club's debt currently stands at around six million euros but with expenditure still higher than income, the club could be in serious trouble by January.

With that in mind, a Malaga delegation, led by vice-president Nasser Al-Thani, met with La Liga chiefs in Madrid last week to present a plan which would prevent the worst of all outcomes. The proposals put forward by the group, which included Jofre, included restructuring club staff, selling more players and bringing in further commercial revenue. This viability plan was accepted by La Liga though it will have to take effect this week.

This preceded a meeting at Malaga city hall on Saturday in which representatives of the council, the provincial government and the Association of Minority Shareholders, led by city mayor Francisco de la Torre and attended by video call by La Liga chief Javier Tebas, gathered to discuss the club's future.

All present pledged their unconditional support for Malaga CF and discussed different measures that could be adopted by the club. They also committed to monitoring the club's activities closely. A video conference room was set up to allow club president Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani to attend but neither he, nor other family members, responded to the invitation.

During Monday's press conference at La Rosaleda, Joaquín Jofre admitted that the club was in a perilous situation and that there was a possibility of it going under.

"If we don't do anything, yes [it could happen]. But that would be an absurd thing to do. We are making changes so that the club survives but there is still danger, like in any business.

"We've been working on this plan since last season and we are still working on it. Obviously the longer you leave it, the more difficult it will be."

Owners absent

Much of the focus of the press conference was on the absence of any representative of the Al-Thani family. "You'll have to ask them [why they're not here]," said Jofre. "They know that there is a press conference."

The impact of their 1.44-million-euro annual salary payments was also discussed, with Jofre admitting that a reduction and the return of a 4.35-million-euro loan "would help". This latter sum has been increasing over time as the Al-Thanis have run up a bill which the club has been treating as credit which could be returned at any moment.

When asked how much blame could be apportioned to president Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani, Jofre said: "We [Jofre and Caminero] don't make the decisions. We never have. The board of directors does, taking our advice into account. We are only responsible for our own departments."

On that note, José Luis Caminero looked to defend his role in player recruitment during the summer transfer window: "I don't agree that it was a disaster. The situation that we had to deal with was far from ideal and with such small margins for manoeuvre, you know what might happen.

"My job is to try to create a squad. I give my opinions on players and whether they can improve the team. Me and my team pass on this information so it that sense I have no reason to resign. That would be different if I thought I wasn't doing my job well."