The Ignored Value and Ill-treatment of Backroom Staff

You cannot guarantee absolute success when dealing within a law-reigned environment. Even in unlawful settings the word guarantee is as hollow as the moral values of the participants. This applies both in business and in sport. You can, however, legitimately assure that you’re in contention to compete for it, which may also result in partially attaining it.

It was my intention to write a lengthier, more detailed piece about how this relates to football, but I’ll keep it fairly short - for now.

Simply put, the ceaseless acquisition of talent is not a sustainable method of achieving success in the vast majority of leagues and especially in Cyprus. There’s a large number of factors why this is the case, the most obvious being that revenue is insufficient to fund such a high turnover of personnel. Another factor is that constantly laying people off through early contract terminations results in the accumulation of debt and most damningly of all fosters an environment of instability and uncertainty. Confidence suffers, performances suffer.

I could go on about the effects of this type of club management, but I’ll restrict myself to a painfully elementary comment about Cypriot clubs and their backroom staff. Simply put, pay your f*cking employees.

Recently, we’ve seen Apoel Nicosia and Apollon Limassol exchange officiating-related barbs through club statements, press releases and social media accounts. Regardless of the quality of refereeing, which was admittedly lacklustre in two or three incidents, it’s a fairly classless way to conduct yourself as a club. One could argue that they’re a pretty accurate reflection of Cypriot society in general, but let’s exercise our deliciously stubborn right to not swandive into that ever-beckoning rabbithole.

Image rights:

Image rights:

Returning to my main point, it was recently announced that both clubs would be penalised by the Cypriot FA and are now subject to fines which must be paid within seven days of them being officially handed out. All nice and well, but one thing has escaped the media’s attention and not for the first time. Clubs casually take decisions which hinder them financially. Sometimes greatly, but more often than not the sums are relatively negligible in the wider context. Well, except if you’re a physio who’s owed three months in wages and your bank seems to have your phone on speed dial.

This is regretfully far from uncommon. Clubs, and the great majority of fans, perceive football to be all about the players. Although the game would not exist without its much recognized protagonists, it also needs its core structure of coaches, doctors, assistants and every other person who helps a team to function properly. The fact that they’re so underappreciated and undervalued reflects very poorly on both the owners’ management skills and the fans’ understanding of how the game works off the pitch.

There’s no need to go on about this any further. Pay your employees and understand that clubs are not charities. Players aren’t there to donate their time and bodies to a club’s cause and neither are the backroom staff. They have families that depend on them, goals that require money to be realized and lives outside of the game. Their marginalization within a club’s structure is a disgrace.

Kyriacos Nicolaou