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Sergei Palkin: Everything can change before the transfer period ends

Friday, July 7, 2017



Shakhtar CEO answered questions from the mass media

- Sergei Anatoliyovych, a little more than a week is left before the start of the new season, while the Premier League still has no understanding on a single pool. What’s your opinion in this regard?
- It's sad that there is no understanding. There were many talks in that respect, and they are formed not into days or a number of meetings, but into years. Everyone is tired of talking about that, but, unfortunately, nothing happens. There are many reasons behind that, there’s no point in discussing them now. As I see it, the main factor for the clubs to come to the Premier League with the desire to join a single pool is only the financial side – money. If today the Premier League approaches the clubs and says: guys, we have a ten-million-dollar deal on the table, based on the principles of work of any club we will distribute the prize money, we will indicate the income that you will receive – then, I can assure you, can you guess how many people would be people the following day? All the clubs would come, and no one would say a word against it. As it seems to me, it’s necessary to change the principles a little bit and move from backstage actions - meetings with managements, presidents, owners, trying to agree –to greater openness. For example, there is a Premier League team – let them work with sponsors and companies, trying to find on the market those who are actually interested in investing in football. And when we have a contract in hand, I can assure you that everyone will quickly come up and will be in a single pool in one minute. That is, you need to change the principles, because those existing up to now, simply have not been effective for many years.

- To develop the topic: currently the Premier League is losing the sponsor Parimatch, which is UAH 23 million a year. There will be no single pool, that is, not enough TV earnings. What is your vision for the future of the Premier League as an organization, especially considering the expected structural reform of professional football, in particular the unification of the top flight and the first league under one roof?
- You know, I'm sure of one thing: we need the organization called the Premier League. It’s nevertheless necessary to keep apart those clubs who play in the Premier League. That’s a kind of VIP club, which has achieved major success not only in the sports arena. Therefore, I believe that there should be a dedicated organization with its management, its board and its decision-making. Quite another matter is how it is managed and how the set goals and objectives are achieved. I want to note that the decision on the choice of the last member of the Premier League hasn’t left a very good aftertaste, because we came for the meeting and did not understand what objectives the Premier League has at all. Most interestingly: the Premier League didn’t try to do anything. Well, it’s good that they raised the issue, the season passed and everyone forgot it, but what about the next season? There were no clear-cut tasks: how much we want to earn, what we need to get. Without that, it’s impossible to assess the activities of the organization, regardless of its name. We need a clear goal, which we want to reach. And then, at the end of the season, we’ll be able to sit down and analyze why we didn’t reach it, and take an appropriate decision. But in our case we just gathered, sat down –without anyone knowing what to discuss, what to talk about? That is, we’ve lost another season, not having an understanding of what we were trying to achieve. Now we are going to play the Super Cup and just immediately send a letter to the Premier League in order to receive an explanation on many issues regarding the goals and objectives, about the same Super Cup, its budget, as well as full details of the revenues and expenditures of the Premier League. That is, we need to make the work correspond to European standards, if we really want to achieve something. I'm talking about operational aspects, but if we talk globally, I would repeat that we do need the Premier League. But the approaches and work should be slightly revised. When the new management came to the Premier League, they made a step forward, they somewhat finetuned the organization. However, it’s still distant from the level we are striving for.

- It seems that last winter you expressed the club’s standpoint that as long as the situation in the country and in the Donetsk region does not change, Shakhtar will not make any expensive acquisitions, literally that you won’t invite any foreign players. Do you still have the same standpoint at the moment?
- Costly acquisitions are not the issue, the question is whether we need it or not. We proceed only from this standpoint. At the moment, we believe that we don’t need any acquisitions. Again, we still have nearly a couple of months before the transfer period ends. Anything can change, so I don’t rule out the possibility of some signings. But there are none at the moment, except for David Khocholava, you know that.

- Can you comment on the information regarding the negotiations with the current Olympiacos player Emenike?
- That’s not true. I don’t know where this information came from.

- Why was Mykola Matviienko loaned out to just Vorskla?
- That’s also a question to me. When making that decision, we based it on the player’s preferences. If he wants to play for Vorskla, – there you go. Everyone builds his career the way he sees it. Mykola took that decision, and we supported him.

- Serhii Hryn’ is back from loan, but Paulo Fonseca doesn’t seem to have him in the plans...
- I haven’t had a meeting with the head coach yet, but, I think, it’s gonna take place shortly and we’ll discuss everything.

- Is there any particulars regarding Oleksandr Karavaev, Pylyp Budkivskyi and Eduard Sobol?
- We’ve been working on that. In the near future you will know everything.

- Does Shakhtar have any offers for the first team players?
- Shakhtar always has offers regarding the guys they want to buy.

- Is it true that Shakhtar still tries to claim the suspension of Oleksandr Zinchenko and that there was a hearing by the sports arbitration court on this case?
- No one was hiding it actually. Initially, when the situation occurred, we said that we would address certain organisations. The issue of consideration is long enough, it stretches over months. Such cases are not resolved quickly. First, the hearing takes place, and only two or three months later they make the ruling.

- There was information that Lokomotiv Moscow made an offer for Giorgi Arabidze. Does it correspond to reality?
- We are in the course of negotiations, but I don’t know how they will end. So far, frankly speaking, they are slow.

- Despite the absence of a single pool, Shakhtar sells its broadcasting rights for the games. Have you managed to improve the terms of sale this season or they’ve remained the same? And what does it depend on: the club or the broadcaster?
- Both the club and the broadcaster. Depending on the level of the club, the value of certain rights varies. Those are normal things. The problem of our current situation in the country is that just few people want to broadcast football games. Thanks to the TV channels Futbol and 2+2 for the fact that they at least maintain a certain level of broadcasting and support this idea. Otherwise, I can assure you, we wouldn’t have had this either. You probably know that previously any top channel had at least sports programmes. Now, they cancelled them. The situation is complicated, so today it’s really hard to raise the cost of television rights several-fold. We must primarily base it on the market value.

- The Ukrainian Super Cup is the only trophy Paulo Fonseca failed to claim. How important is the upcoming game against Dynamo?
- Even if we had a friendly match with Dynamo, it would have been crucial, regardless of the name: the Super Cup, the Cup final or just a friendly.

- You know that sign: if you win the Super Cup – then in the league...
- Everything has its exceptions.