The CEO of Elche, Patricia Rodrguez, analyzes how her position has changed: “I never imagined seeing an ERTE in soccer”
Patricia Rodrguez, in his office at the Martnez Valero.
From face-to-face meetings in the office to video calls. The day has become infinite, says Patricia Rodrguez . On these dates, the general director of Elche CF should be closing the accounts for the year, budgeting investments in signings for the next season, sales, renewals, contracts with sponsors and, in the dreamed scenario, preparing the playoff from promotion to First. All with the certainty that years of experience in this world give you. However, her day to day has been transformed since the pandemic froze everything in March.
Patricia Rodrguez was the first female executive in a football club and is about to become the first vice president of LaLiga in representation of the Second clubs. In 2014 she clicked on the offer of a job portal to be the financial director of a company and turned out to be SD Eibar. With the rise of gunsmiths, he became CEO and since then his career has no longer been separated from sports and professional football. In the summer of 2019 he joined Elche to clean up a history with which he had already crossed: his administrative decline due to debt kept his Eibar in First season 15/16.
Despite her extensive and recognized management experience, Covid has faced the CEO with unthinkable challenges. I never imagined having to do an ERTE at a football club he confesses. But it is that nobody could think about the social, economic and health scenario that we are going to have in this country. ERTE was a very difficult and thoughtful decision, but we had to make it, he clarifies. She herself signed her own cut to support the viability of a club that has spent five years trying to raise its head.
“Work to adapt”
The new normal is approaching, but the impact on the accounts will be sustained over time and force managers to reinvent concepts to cushion it. The first has been to offer subscribers, as compensation for the remaining six games, the option of having a cardboard figure with their image present at the stadium. At the moment, 300 of the 10,000 have accepted this proposal. It is also a way to minimize distance from fans, he explains. We have lost the sale of tickets and, in the event of playing the playoffs that possible entry of ticketing the hospitality … we have significant impacts of reduction of income and we have to work to adapt, he warns.
Elche, sixth place, resumes the competition on Friday the 12th against Extremadura and by then the Martnez Valero and the training camps have to be a bunker where there is not the slightest risk of contagion . This has forced unforeseen expenses that will undermine the accounts, long since battered, just when they began to straighten.
Disinfection, cleaning, purchase of protective material … It is true that it is a common expense in all companies right now, but the disinfections provided in the protocols are very, very comprehensive and obviously have an additional cost, he explains. To this we must add those generated by the competition itself, for example in displacements . We can no longer travel on commercial flights, they have to be private, and the measures in the hotels are very strict. All this has a significant extra cost for a team like ours, it is an expense that we did not count on.
The 11 games are not a formality, but a final sprint in which the entire season is at stake and, in the case of Elche, the fight for a promotion without the encouragement of his followers. The echo in training is tremendous and it will be very rare not to have that factor in its favor. But we will all be on equal terms, he warns.
Because, given the possibility of recovering the public in the stands Elche is cautious: It is a decision that must be taken globally, as has been done so far. It is the way to guarantee the equality and integrity of the competition.
What if the promotion comes and it can’t be celebrated? Let no one suffer for it. We will come up with alternatives and, when the barriers fall, we will remain pending, smile the director general.
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