Football as a business, the stadium as the heart of the club

Zenit participated in the international conference “Football as a business”, which took place as part of the 2011 CIS Champions Cup.

The Russian Football Union, FIFA, the Russian Football Premier League, the National Football League, the national football associations of CIS countries, and many other organizations took part in the conference. Dmitry Mankin, FC Zenit commercial director, spoke at the plenary session and gave a presentation of the project “Infrastructure of the modern stadium.”

– “Russia has done a huge amount of work over recent years, and has made great progress both in football and in other aspects,” explained Joseph Blatter, FIFA President, when opening the conference. – And the 2018 World Cup fits into this road, which is supported by all in Russia: the fans, the people, politicians. Presently Russian football has made great progress, but that`s only the beginning of the road. Everybody has come on the road of football, but a lot more has to be done for it, and money and effort has to be invested into it. The same way as we did in our day with FIFA. When my predecessor, Joao Avelange, came to head the organization in 1974, FIFA had 11 employees, one general secretary, and two dogs who worked as security guards. Now FIFA unites 208 national federations, which in turn are part of continental associations. Russia is on the right path, and if that`s true then why can`t Russia win the World Cup already in 2014?

Alexey Sorokin, the general director of the Russia-2018 bid committee, also spoke about holding the World Cup in Russia. Having spoken about how the bid procedure went, Sorokin thanked the FIFA executive committee for the trust it showed in Russia, and promised not to let FIFA down and to hold the 2018 World Cup “brilliantly”.

After the heads of various organizations gave their greetings, Joseph Blatter then gave the president of the Russian Football Union a special pennant with the words “Take the road of football”, thereby finishing the first part of the conference.

After a fifteen minute coffee break, the conference then continued in the format of a plenary session, in which the following projects were presented one after another: “Increasing attendance at Russian Premier League matches – the main task,” “The National Football League: prospects for developing the second national league,” and “National Student Football League”. Another project, “Infrastructure of the modern stadium,” was presented in the name of Zenit by Dmitry Mankin, commercial director of the club. Dmitry explain how Zenit is working on its new stadium, – in particular Dmitry ensured all present that the stadium being built will accord to all modern European parameters.

– The retractable roof will make it possible to hold football matches even in cold weather, – explained Mankin. – The stadium will also has a moveable field – not every European arena can claim to have such innovative technology. The new arena is planned to have 69,000 seats, with 1,400 of them coming in special boxes, and 5,600 being business seats. We will also have family sectors, and sectors with cheap tickets for young people.

Besides his words about the new stadium, Dmitry Mankin also shared several secrets about how to make stadiums more effective, since it is believed that income on match days should make up one third of a football club`s total budget.

– Therefore, if you don`t get this full 30%, then you still have potential. Remember, the stadium is the heart of the club.”