Within its “Property Rights” Program, The Egyptian Center for Public Policy Studies held a round table entitled “The Economic Effects of the Privatization of Sports Clubs” on Thursday August 24th 2017 in ECPPS’ office in Bab el-Louq, Downtown, The objective of the round table is to hold a discussion about the privatization of sports clubs with the active and effected parties, in an attempt to add the recommendations and opinions to the research paper “The Economic Effects of the Privatization of Sports Clubs”. Representatives of ECPPS, MPS’, a number of political parties and sports clubs attended the session, including: ECPPS Researcher Adel El Hemaily, Member of Wadi Degla Club’s Board of Directors Tarek Rashad, Head of Masr El Horreya Party and Member of El Tayaran Club’s Board of Directors Tamer Sahab, Member of the Supreme Council of Free Egyptians Party John Fekry, and Representative of MP Nadia Henry, Mohamed Mostafa Kamal.
El Hemaily started the session with an introduction about the Egyptian Center for Public Policy Studies, its “Property Rights” Program, the research paper on the privatization of sports clubs, and ECPPS’ support to the privatization of sports clubs. El Hemaily explained that ECPPS believes that privatization will encourage the foundation of private sports clubs which will enrich the competition in the sports field. The research paper considers the privatization of sports clubs, contrary to the new law sports law which includes investment in sports while reserving the public ownership of sports clubs. El Hemaily mentioned successful examples of sports marketing, such as some sports which despite being practiced only within the United States of America, the state succeeds its marketing using a system that helps professionalism and determining the salary of the player, while guaranteeing the profit of private clubs.
Tarek Rashed said the investment in the field of sports is inevitable, particularly after private companies’ clubs, ministries, and bodies have pumped money that led to a strong competition, and led to the incapability of some of the very famous sports club to compete. Rashed said that considering the situation in Egypt privatization of sports clubs is inapplicable, adding that the best solution is an investment system in the sports sector, just as the Egyptian club Al Ahly does with football, to abide by the regulations of The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) regarding a professional league. Rashed added that the new law allows any private entity to participate in sports championships, which will enrich the competition. Finally, Rashed commented on the new law, explaining that a bylaw will be added for private clubs within two months with a main objective of regulating them.
Tamer Sahab presented El Tayaran Club’s experience, explaining that the club was controlled by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, adding that the Ministry even controlled the number of new memberships received, and that these decisions were not made according to clear criteria. Sahab added that the new law helps sports clubs control their resources without the interference of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. He suggested that the general assemblies in public clubs found joint stock companies with separate board of directors and funding to direct sports. Sahab mentioned handball as an example; handball in El Tayaran Club is declining due to the insufficient funding that should help the sports sector flourish without the social services required from the club’s members.
John Fekry explained that the problem of privatization lies in the members of the general assemblies in government owned clubs as they have several privileges that they do not want to give up, such as the low annual membership cost, and the bequeathal of memberships. Fekry believes that the solution for the contrariety of private companies’ clubs (affiliated with the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation) and public clubs (affiliated with the Ministry of Youth and Sports) is the foundation of private companies to supervise and direct the sports field in government owned sports clubs, which will avoid the conflict of interest with the members of the general assemblies.
Mohamed Mostafa Kamal supported the privatization of sports clubs, to be directed by investors; however he was against the foundation of a private company to direct the sports sector in public clubs, due to the Egyptian government’s huge expenditure on public clubs which have low earrings, particularly after the negative effect of the private companies’ clubs with huge capital.
Recommendations of the round table:
· Ensuring an economic environment which encourages the public sports clubs to invest in some sports sectors to help the competition with private companies’ clubs
· The contribution of sports federations in supporting professionalism in competitions through marketing and guaranteeing a sufficient income for sports clubs through TV broadcasting rights
· Drafting a bylaw that helps the foundation of private sports teams in different sports
· Finding a solution for the problem of youth centers and reducing their membership to help youths practice more sports