|Steve Parish - Chairman, Crystal Palace FC|
|Profile of the week|
Monday, 22 June 2015 10:41
Steve began his career at the company Adplates in 1989, there he founded technology company Turning Point Technologies, returning in 1998 to acquire Adplates and reinvent it as Tag Worldwide.
Tag quickly became the world's largest advertising production company, creating the concept of centralised production and adaptation whilst boasting a client base of some of the world’s biggest brands such as Unilever, Intel, HP, Reebok and H&M to name but a few.
Steve sold the business in 2011 to Deutsche Post DHL. In 2010 Steve led a group of investors to acquire Crystal Palace Football Club where he acts as Executive Chairman.
Since the acquisition Steve has successfully brought the Club out of administration, into the Championship play offs and after winning the play off final in May 2013, into the Premier League.
Can you give us your views on the recent news that FIFA president Sepp Blatter is set to step down?
I don’t know a lot about that situation and I wouldn’t profess that I do, I don’t know that people have done things they shouldn’t have done, I have no personal knowledge that they have but obviously there seems to be a lot of people that think they have and a lot of people think it’s a very good thing [that Blatter’s stepping down].
I would sound a note of caution, that even if it was a corrupt leadership, sometimes instability isn’t good and there’ll be a vacuum there, I’m not saying we should’ve carried on with what was there if it didn’t have the proper governance and they weren’t doing the right things of course not, but football is generally in rude health all over the world but it needs to make sure that there isn’t a vacuum left.
It also feels to me that if things are wrong at FIFA, they’re institutionally wrong and it seems they need to change the constitution. So one country, one vote seems to not have worked particularly well for them, it’s kept the wrong people in power, the critical time for everybody is now. There’s a vacuum there and it needs to be filled and a lot of people have got to do a lot of hard work to do that and they’ve got to make sure the constitution’s right so that what’s replaced isn’t what came before.
From a business point of view, integrity should be at the heart of any organisation shouldn’t it?
It should do, but I don’t know what people have done, I know some people have been arrested and there seems to be a weight of opinion that things were going on that shouldn’t have, but personally I don’t know that so if that was going on, of course it should’ve been addressed a lot sooner. But obviously FIFA are an organisation with no real governance because they don’t belong to a country or a nation state so one imagines they can write their own rules.
It’s an interesting development that the U.S has got involved and if there has been things that have been wrong, very welcome development as well, because that organisation probably felt that they could write their own rules because they really don’t exist in any nation state so the rules can pretty much be their own, but I think there’s jurisdiction because as I understand it, the deals were transacted in US Dollars.
So it’s a critical time for football and football needs to make sure that it gets it right and of course transparency and integrity very much need to be at the heart of any organisation and a new constitution of that particular organisation needs to take that into account.
Moving on to Crystal Palace, your success on the pitch has allowed you to be successful off it, you announced record profit earlier this year, how were you able to achieve that?
It helps when you come into the Premier League and there’s a new TV deal, it helps when you’ve got a chairman in me that’s comfortable saying no to things and we’ve also got some cost controls in the league, Financial Fair Play (FFP) for example, that suppressed the madness of some of it and what you saw last year wasn’t just us making profit but 15 of the Premier League clubs making profit.
Last year was astonishing, you had a turnaround, a once in a 15 year event which was we went from a community of £200m loss to £350m profit, it was about a £500m swing in terms of profitability of Premier League clubs and that was because of the new rules that have come in around FFP and cost control and it’s essential that we carry on with those for the good of football. I’ve seen that there are some things happening, that they might be softened by UEFA, they are less stringent than the ones we currently have in the Premier League so we’re quite comfortable with that.
But for Premier League clubs to be the richest in the world and then lose money against anybody else, there’s no need for it, we can get everything we want, we can buy any player we want in this league, depending on what level you’re on, there’s just vast wealth in the Premier League compared to most of the other big leagues in Europe, outside of the top clubs that are in those leagues, so there’s really no reason for any of us to lose money.
Our profit was also indicative of us being promoted and having a lower wage bill to start with, financial prudence, new TV deal and cost control implementations that the league have put in and all that came together to produce a very good story for football and in the cycle of a three-year deal you’ll see clubs make slightly less the year after and slightly less the year after that.
When it comes to the new TV deal hopefully they should put some money in the bank again and most owners only spend the money on the football, people aren’t taking money out of football clubs in any sizeable chunk so it’s been a fantastic development that the league have put these rules in place and something we’ve got to continue with.