Santander Wealth Management has partnered with the Union of European Football Associations (Uefa) to unveil a financial management programme for players across the continent.
There are a number of horror stories of sports personalities investing in bogus or poorly-run investment schemes and losing their money.
The course aims to give footballers the chance to gain a greater understanding when it comes to managing their finances, both day-to-day and long term.
“We at Santander want to set the pace in terms of sustainable and responsible banking,” said Armando Baquero Pointe, the global head of finance and strategy at Santander Wealth Management.
“Partnering with Uefa to improve European football players’ financial education and help them prosper financially was a clear and compelling objective that is aligned with our vision.
“We think that the Uefa Financial Management Training (FMT) is a great tool to do this in a broad and engaging manner.”
The Uefa FMT is an e-learning platform and the course lasts for seven modules, covering the basic principles of finance such as cash management, credit, savings and investments, while also providing a comprehensive introduction into entrepreneurship.
Upon its conclusion, the participants will have acquired greater knowledge in order to make informed decisions and plan for the future.
The programme will help players of all ages get a better idea of how to manage their finances and plan for a future outside of the game, which is important because footballers run the risk of having their career ended at any stage due to the possibility of injury.
Guy-Laurent Epstein, director of marketing at Uefa, said: “Financial management is of vital importance to players of all ages and through this course they will receive all necessary tools in order to remain in control of their finances.”
Former Liverpool Football Club goalkeeper James and retired midfielder Gaizka Mendieta will also offer their advice on how players can manage their finances.
James, who has personally experienced bankruptcy, said: “Not being an expert in finance, the difficulty is you listen to something and think it’s going to be right.
“It sounds so good and you get involved and then it doesn’t work out. As the saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.”
He continued: “My advice, and something I’ve learned later on in life, is that if someone gives you a contract or a deal, read it. Even if you don’t understand it, at least get some knowledge of what you’re about to do.
“Then go to someone with the expertise to actually go through it properly. Too often it’s a mate, a friend or a relative, who says: ‘Do this’, ‘Do that’. You trust them, you do it and it doesn’t work out. If in doubt – which should always be the case if you’re not an expert – get someone who knows the right answer.”
Do your research
After his career ended, former Spain star Mendieta realised that Spanish food was becoming increasingly popular and decided to invest in a restaurant business in London.
“I knew the product was successful, because they already had two restaurants, so I knew it was working well,” Mendieta said. “I knew there was a demand for Spanish cuisine, and I knew they were good businessmen.
“From there, now we have eight [restaurants], we’re thinking of opening another one, and parallel to that we have two other projects, one of which will open now in May. But [they’re] basically with the same sort of people.
“Why? Because I know they work well, they’re professionals, and I know they do things in the way that I think can work.”
As his career progressed, Mendieta would often call on experts to give him the best possible advice, partly because he was interested in finance.
“I wasn’t educated the way other people perhaps are, but I had that interest in wanting to learn the basics of how things were doing or how things had to be done in order to get a return.
“I had that interest, I think I’ve learnt, and I had my investment advisers, tax advisers, lawyers with whom I had meetings regularly.”
International Adviser recently published an article on former sports stars being approached to become financial advisers.
In the piece, there was a debate whether hiring more former athletes as IFAs could create more specialist advice firms, which will help sports stars with their finances.