La Liga's hands-on proceed to Africa pays dividends

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – In a conflict for a hearts and minds of Africa’s flourishing multitude of “connected” football fans, Spain’s La Liga has stolen a impetus on rivals as it seeks to grow a footprint on a continent.

From their dedicated bureau with unconditional views opposite Johannesburg’s uber-wealthy business district Sandton, La Liga’s Managing Director in Africa, Antonio Barradas, sum a tellurian positioning of a league’s code as they opposition a English Premier League for popularity.

“We are all over a world, though we know in Africa a expansion can be tremendous,” Barradas told Reuters.

“In Europe today, about 60 percent of a race is over 50 years old. But in Africa over 60 percent is underneath 25 years old.”

A 2017 news by investigate and consulting organisation Ovum in London estimated that African mobile broadband connectors alone will arise to 1.07 billion by a finish of 2022, providing a large new intensity audience.

La Liga announced in Jan that matches in a country’s second-tier would be streamed live on YouTube, with Africa a pivotal aim market.

Aiding this routine is grassroots assistance to federations with a aim of providing event for destiny “diamonds” from a continent to be unearthed, according to Barradas.

“We give divided thousands of soccer balls to kids, we see a disproportion it creates to them. There are unequivocally few children in Soweto currently that don’t know about La Liga,” he said.

“You have a child that has no friends, that is alone. You give him a soccer round and we pledge we within mins he will have 10 friends. 

“We have a devise called Pass a Ball. A child of six, 7 or 8 years old, that is when we unequivocally need to assistance them.

“We move competent trainers from Spain to work with a coaches during propagandize level. We wish that eventually we will get some of a diamonds that exist here in Africa (into La Liga).”


La Liga has a coaches training programme in Nigeria, consults to a Kenyan Premier League, has supposing executive workshops for a Tanzania Football Federation, and has activities in South Africa, Cameroon, Senegal, Angola, Mozambique and Morocco.

It is all partial of a devise to move La Liga’s beliefs to a continent, providing coaching and executive services where they are badly needed.

“To give we some background, when a stream La Liga boss Javier Tebas took over (in 2013) we had 34 people. Today we are 620 people. The clubs due over 675 million euros ($764 million) in taxes, currently it is fundamentally zero,” Barradas said.

“So we have combined a (administrative) indication that stops a clubs over-spending. You give a bill during a commencement of a year and we can’t spend some-more than comes in.

“When we emanate partnerships with a opposite federations, we assistance to exercise this model. We will support anybody who wants a help. And we do it for free.”


With football markets jam-packed in other tools of a world, Africa can be a new bridgehead for football brands and a share of a blurb pie.

Although a English Premier League had ruled roughly unopposed for decades, Barradas says La Liga is throwing up. 

“We know a English Premier League (had an advantage) by a denunciation since Spanish is not widely oral in Africa,” he said. “But we have come a prolonged approach and are entrance unequivocally nearby to them (in popularity).

“Today, a Premier League is series one and we are series two, after that we have a German joining (Bundesliga) and (Italian) Serie A is entrance adult as well.

“But we wish to uncover Africa that La Liga is most some-more than only Real Madrid and Barcelona, there are 42 clubs (in a tip dual divisions).”

Barradas believes that by showcasing a La Liga product, and providing assistance to federations and grassroots programmes, a Spanish diversion will continue to grow in recognition in Africa.

“As prolonged as La Liga exists, we wish to make certain this bureau exists and we will carrying on doing a work,” he said.

Reporting by Nick Said, modifying by Ed Osmond

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