O Botafogo had an important reinforcement for off-field issues in the 2021 season: Jorge Braga, hired to be the CEO, an unprecedented role at the club. In an interview with “UOL” this Thursday, the professional explained how the beginning of the work and the procedures worked in these more than six months at Alvinegro.
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– I spent 30 days listening and talking to everyone to have a diagnosis as free as possible. The advantage of coming from abroad is not having the passion for football when looking at what is good and what is bad. The finances were correct, the club only had a few more weeks’ cash. We faithfully follow what we envision. There is a very strong management of cutting costs and expenses, reorganizing the house, structuring the debt and seeking investments. They are still the four basic premises for Botafogo to cross 2021 and seek the Series A, which it should never have left – he said.
The main issue involving the hiring involving Jorge Braga, of course, is the financial part. With almost R$ 1 billion in debt and with asphyxiated coffers, the CEO explained that Botafogo is carrying out restructuring processes and that the trend is for an improvement in revenues even when competing for the Series B of Brasileirão.
– Botafogo has released a balance sheet without audit qualifications for the first time in many years. It was an accelerated degradation of the accounts, the fall to Series B damaged by almost R$ 100 million, between broadcasting rights, sponsorship and partner-fan. Our product is football, when it suffers, the business suffers – he explained.
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– We have managed to reverse this situation. We approved strategic goal plans until 2024. To get an idea, this year, keeping to the budget to the letter, despite having BRL 70 million lower revenue, we will deliver BRL 70 million better results, which is an unequivocal response to the improvement of management. It’s not just a question of numbers, all management processes, including football, have advanced. This didn’t start when I arrived in March, it came at the beginning of the administration, which has clear objectives and has been complying with them. The vice president structure itself is smaller. The idea is to make the management professional – he added.
At the end of April, Jorge Braga said, in a statement released to the fans, that “if it were a company, Botafogo would have gone bankrupt some time ago” and placed 4th place in Series B as a goal. Almost five months later, the leader explained the statement.
– One of my goals is to set expectations. When I arrived, it was still very similar to other administrations, do anything, win the title, then we’ll see how we do it. Of course, no one wants only fourth place, but any one of the four places (from Series B) is what we need to gain access. I understand, respect, I’m also a fan and I like titles. But there is a debate: the football business model is changing in the world and accelerating in Brazil. To compete for first and second places, the level of investment in athlete has to be double or triple. The business model is very leveraged and inefficient for those competing for the top positions, unless it has a very large concentration of transmission revenues – he analyzed.
Jorge explains: the goal is to return to the elite of Brazilian football, in whatever position. From a financial point of view, it is essential that Alvinegro get back in touch with what the Series A do Brasileirão offers and then think about making any type of investment.
– We have to think about what is viable for Botafogo. We fight to be champions, but doing the math coldly, our goal for next year is to rise with responsibility. Going back to Series A, it’s R$70 million more, maybe R$100 million, because there’s sponsorship, increased fan partner, licensing. Then, yes, we were able to put the house in order and return to making conscious investments to fight for titles. The expectation for 2021 is to survive and gain access to one of the four positions – he admitted.