The Al-Ahly Century Project “exposes” the bitter reality of Tunisian football

The project of the century that was announced has exceeded its resonance Alahli football clubthe limits of Egyptian football, to create a major impact in the Tunisian sports community with all those involved in it, who brought back to the forefront the “old and new” file related to the transfer of clubs to private companies.

It is no secret that the situation of Tunisian football and its clubs is closely aligned with the country’s economic situation, which suffers from manifestations of confusion, particularly represented by a lack of liquidity, which is considered the main reason behind the decline in Tunisian football’s results and its influential presence on the continent.

The announcement of the Al-Ahly Club’s Project of the Century motivated the Tunisian fans, who were fascinated by the project, to once again address the issue of privatizing clubs, revolutionize the way they are managed, and put a final end to the issue of dependency on the state.

The Tunisian Century Project.. What are its obstacles?

First of all, Al-Ahly’s new project cannot be overlooked, as it is considered a real revolution in the management of clubs in North Africa and even the Arab world, as it has become closer to the most famous management models in the world.

How did Egyptian clubs gradually transform from exclusivity to corporate prospects?

The Al-Ahly Century Project is a huge, integrated sports city that includes a private stadium with a capacity of 44,000 spectators, a university, a sports school, a museum, a hospital, and a hotel as well. That is, it is like a “state within a state.” Its construction will cost the equivalent of $25.3 million, and the completion period will not exceed 4 years, according to officials. “the Red Castle”.

A project of this magnitude and huge spending mechanisms all impressed the Tunisian football public, who wondered why this type of project was not implemented in Tunisia. Are there realistic obstacles that make the “Tunisian Project of the Century” difficult to achieve?

Without addressing the huge files related to the need for the state to reconsider the issue of placing sports within its strategic plans to restore its position in the future, the most important of which is the rehabilitation of worn-out sports infrastructure, especially stadiums, the fundamental obstacle is primarily legal and structural.Banishing the Sports Structures Law of 1995 from existence and introducing a new law is the first emergency treatment for the sad current situation of Tunisian football, which has declined greatly compared to its neighbours. This law is responsible for the consequences of the collapse, by not keeping pace with professionalism in the field of football, and its insistence on survival. In the era of amateurism, by devoting the clubs’ dependence on the state in the process of financing, assistance and support, and rejecting their freedom and financial independence, which today threatens long-established clubs such as Etoile du Sahel, Club Africain and Sfaxien, with disappearing from the arena of competition on the continent and even locally.

Although this law was presented to the House of Representatives in 2012, it remained on the “shelves” due to the sterile and useless conflict between the supervisory authority represented by the Ministry of Sports, headed by Kamal Daqish, and the Tunisian Football Federation, which was led by former President Wadih Al-Jari, who is in office. Currently in prison.

An ideal but unrealistic solution

With the exception of the Project of the Century related to Al-Ahly, there are many models for running clubs around the world, and they share – each according to his vision – an important margin of success, while in England the principle of “single owner” is allowed, who has the freedom to decide everything himself (for example, the Russian Roman Abramovich Previously with Chelsea), Germany relies on the principle of partnership between the club and private companies, while in Italy a large number of shareholders are relied upon to lead the club, similar to what happened with the former president of Juventus, Andrea Agnelli, while in Spain, which is considered… To many, it is considered the “best model” in this context. The club is owned by its fans and is headed by an elected general assembly. It also manages its financial, investment and economic operations in general by itself through companies owned by it.

While the Spanish model remains ideal in terms of form in the Tunisian football situation, it is difficult, if not “impossible,” to achieve in reality, for a fundamental reason, which is due to the weak capabilities of clubs that lack the simplest factors for success, such as owning a private stadium or huge commercial and marketing activities. It generates astronomical returns, which is the case with the two giants of La Liga. Barcelona and dear real madrid.

Is it time?

Despite the acknowledgment of the difficulty of applying any of the successful international models in the current situation of Tunisian football and sports in general, moving towards change has become inevitable in order to rise from the current abyss, even if the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

And so that Tunisian football does not look from a high place at the risk of falling, practical and sober thinking begins with the basic steps that are in the hands of the state, which are certainly amending the sports structures law, which has been ravaged by time and age, so that clubs can enhance their incomes through huge commercial and investment activities, not through diligence. It is narrow, with a few small shops that market t-shirts or some mobile phone applications and services.

Part of a previous confrontation in the Esperance and Africain derby (Facebook/clubafricain.com.tn) Winwin

If the Tunisian state does not quickly find a solution in this context, it may be fate Taraji In the near future, similar to what happened to his peers in Tunisian football, because his president, Hamdi Al-Madab, his current “protector”, will not be able to pay 20 billion Tunisians (equivalent to 6 million euros) every time to cover the team’s budget deficit.

The idea of ​​activating the role of clubs and giving them responsibility for themselves will not only bring benefits to them but also to the state, which will get rid of the burden on its budget and the burden of financing its teams, but will also strengthen its balances with the tax money generated from it.

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