The Spanish Segunda club Malaga C.F. has communicated its plans for a collective dismissal procedure that could mean laying off half of their entire first-team squad. The club has acknowledged that this Malaga C.F. dismissal is a last-ditch effort to retain its status in the second division of Spanish football and stave off their ongoing financial crisis, as the administration would otherwise force a relegation into the regionalized Segunda B.
Earlier this month, Málaga had made a narrow escape from relegation into Spain’s third division, a non-professional tier, by finishing 14th in the second division, barely two points ahead of the drop. It had also narrowly missed out on a promotion back to La Liga, the Spanish top-flight in 2019 after being beaten in the play-offs by Deportivo La Coruna.
In a statement released by the club on 24th August, the club said that it had to make some tough decisions in recent months and this time, the restructuring will directly impact the men’s first team.
The management of Málaga Club de Fútbol, S.A.D has communicated to the squad of professional footballers its intention to begin a collective dismissal procedure.Malaga C.F. official statement
This new restructuring policy joins the economic plan that aims to get the Club out of the complicated financial situation which it continues to be immersed in, in spite of recent efforts.
Malaga C.F. said that they had no option but to take this step for the good of the Entity and hopes that the fans and season ticket holders understand the situation and support the decision of the club. The club has also initiated a compensation for each of the season ticket holders. The club believes that this Malaga C.F. dismissal decision will be essential for the restructuring purpose and to create an acceptable & competitive structure with which to return the lost excitement back to the club.
Malaga C.F. dismissal procedure: What caused the crisis?
Since February this year, the club had been embroiled in a financial mess which stemmed from mismanagement, mainly a number of bad financial choices, by its Qatari owner, Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani. The Sheikh and his family owe €7.3M in loans and credit to the club. He was removed from his position as the club president for a six-month period, replaced by a judicial administrator in charge.
Due to the advent of COVID-19, football had been suspended throughout the world since March. With revenue shortages putting a dent into their depleting finances, in May, the club released a statement confirming their proposed cutbacks under an employment regulation file, called the ERE, a procedure under Spanish law which allows a company to reduce its workforce in certain circumstances. “The club announces that it has taken the decision to present an employment regulation file for the termination and/or suspension of employment contracts,” the statement read.
Malaga has already been in a steady decline since reaching the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals in 2013, finishing in a much lower position in the league with each passing year. In the wake of Al Thani’s 2010 takeover, at that point, there were already signs of financial problems which worsened before Malaga’s eventual relegation from La Liga in 2018. This Malaga C.F. dismissal has finally put the last pin in the coffin of the financial disaster the club was going through.
Looking Back at the golden years of Malaga
Malaga has had a long record from back when it started as the first football club in the port city of Málaga in 1904. It was promoted for the first time to La Liga after several seasons in the Segunda División in 1949. In its first run in La Liga, Málaga stayed for two consecutive seasons until the first relegation of the club at the end of 1950–51 season, lacking just one point to maintain status. In the subsequent seasons, it achieved two new promotions to La Liga in 1951–52 and 1953–54, being relegated after just one year in both. The 1952–53 season was notable because of a brilliant 6–0 display against Real Madrid at La Rosaleda. Málaga promoted once again in 1969–70 under the command of chairman Antonio Rodríguez López and coach Jenő Kálmár, to begin on a five-year top-flight stay.
In the early 2000s, Málaga stood strong as a club full of top quality players. Although they never pushed for a Champions League place, it was successful under the popular Joaquín Peiró. They won the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2002, securing their only official trophy by defeating Gent, Willem II and Villarreal. They also reached the quarter-finals in 2002-03 UEFA Europa League. In 2012, the club qualified for the Champions League after finishing 4th in the 2011-12 La Liga campaign. They reached the quarter-finals, but the second leg was marked by controversial referee decisions in a highly anticipated tie against the then German champions, Borussia Dortmund. The scoreboard displayed 1-2 at the full 90 minutes mark, but two late goals by Marco Reus (90+1′) and Felipe Santana (90+3′) turned the table in favour of the eventual runner-ups.
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