Transparency in Spanish football

Football is the sport par excellence in Spain, but many times we forget that sports clubs are also companies that must adjust to the legislation present in each country. In today’s article, we are going to see if Spanish football teams approve or suspend in terms of transparency.

Although transparency is an aspect that we usually relate to public administration, the Spanish transparency law not only addresses these institutions, such as the Royal House, the Senate or the Constitutional Court, but there are certain provisions that apply to other organizations.

According to Law 19/2013, of 9 December, on transparency, access to public information and good governance, must comply with it those registered in the Register of Religious Entities, corporations, associations, institutions and other entities representing collective interests, it provides that only if they receive for one year grants in excess of 100,000 euros or when at least 40% of their total income is from public funds, “provided they reach at least 5,000 euros. (Art. 3 b)

The transparency of Spanish football teams

Transparency International is a non-governmental organisation that has been working since 1993 to fight corporate political corruption and promote transparency. It arrived in Spain in 2000 and has several transparency indices, such as the Index of Town Councils, the Index of Autonomous Communities and the Index of Water Management.

Among all these indices, those dedicated to the sports field are the Football Clubs Index (INFUT) and the Sports Federations Index (INFED). For the time being, we will focus on INFUT, which has a dual objective: to assess the level of transparency of Spanish football clubs and to promote and encourage the increase in the information they provide to citizens and society in general.

In the latest report by Transparency International Spain, a total of 41 football clubs, all participants in the First and Second Division, were evaluated. It should be noted that there are certain teams that are considered as one, as is the case of Sevilla F.C. and Sevilla Atlético.

The INFUT is made up of a total of sixty indicators, distributed around five areas that Transparency believes any football club should comply with and offer as much information as possible to its members, fans and citizens as a whole. These five thematic pillars are:

  1. Information about the football club.
  2. Relations with partners, fans and general public.
  3. Economic-financial transparency.
  4. Transparency in contracts and supplies.
  5. Indicators law of transparency.

The INFUT 2016 final average score was 62.8 out of 100, a notable improvement on the previous year’s rating (44.2). The result according to the division varies considerably, with the score of First Division being 71.8 (as against 49.7 last year) and that of Second Division being 54.4 (as against 39).

They stand out above all the Betis and Numancia football teams, which have achieved the highest possible score (100 out of 100). Interestingly, in the previous edition of this report, the Betis had been the last in questions of transparency.

Analyzing in detail the scores of each of them, 71% of the teams have passed the exam with more than 50 points, although the main problem is that the level of dispersion is very high (the difference between the first two clubs and the last is 84 points).

One of the conclusions drawn by this study is that “transparency is a matter of will or attitude, rather than economic size or budgetary capacity”. This latest edition also highlights the notable improvement that there has been since last year, although Transparency International still describes it as “insufficient” and “manifestly improvable”.

Is Spanish football transparent enough?

The transparency of sports federations in Spain

On the other hand, TI-Spain also assesses the level of transparency of sports federations, whose average score is 86.3 in its second edition of the 2018 report, with fourteen federations in total having achieved the maximum score. As for the Spanish Football Federation, in the first edition of the report its case was described as “singular and not edifying at all”, as not even the budgets were published on the web.

In this second edition, the changes and improvements are clearly evident, as can be seen in the transparency section of the RFEF, obtaining a score of 85, although TI-Spain continues to note that the budget of this federation is equivalent to that of other federations.

The aim of this index is to bring the federations closer to society, as well as to promote knowledge of their activities, especially the benefits and services they offer to citizens.

Transparency at international level: FIFA

At the international level, TI also produced a report on the transparency of FIFA, comprising a total of 209 football associations. Eighty-one per cent of these have no published financial records, 21 per cent do not even have a website and 85 per cent have not made their activities public.

For the purpose of a comprehensive transparency study, the report was divided into four categories: financial accounts, codes of conduct, statutes and information on their activities.

In the final results, 41.63% of FIFA members got a nil score as they do not publish any relevant information about their organisations. Only 31% scored above 2 (out of 4).

Data Graphics

Ultimately, the final conclusion is that football teams are making remarkable efforts to improve transparency, but it is not a question of economics, but of will. The Real Federación Española de Fútbol has also improved in this aspect, but, once again, the results do not show the enormous difference in the budget with respect to the rest of the federations. At the international level, FIFA and its members have a lot of work to do.

OGoov’s transparency module automatically generates IT Indicators for Spain.

If the organisation uses the indicators of Transparency International Spain, it can automatically generate a tree structure of its indicators according to the type of organisation, then it is enough to add the documents or links associated with the fulfilment of each indicator.

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