Last week I was alerted to the fact that the former CEO of Real Mallorca Maheta Molango had been made the CEO of the Professional Footballers Association(PFA) back in the UK. Firstly I was a little shocked but once I thought about it properly, he is actually a good fit.
I first met Maheta at the radio back in 2016. At the age of 33, he’d not long taken over as CEO of Real Mallorca who had just been relegated to the lowly depths of Segunda B. They had just been bought by new American owners who included the owner of the Phoenix Suns, Robert Sarver, former NBA star Steve Nash & former Bolton player and Fox Sports soccer presenter Stuart Holden. Maheta was calm and collected in the interview and explained to me the plan that he and the new American owners had to get Mallorca back into the big time. I had also met him on a few occasions at CD San Francisco where my boys play football and his son plays for a team too. In February last year i saw him at a game where he was watching his Son play. We spoke and I said we needed to get him back into the studio. He agreed and asked me to contact him during the following week. Unfortunately that happened to be the week that he was fired by Mallorca, so I never got to speak to him.
So why was he fired?
I did watch a documentary on Amazon called Six Dreams which followed six different people who were part of the La Liga 2019/20 season. Maheta happened to be one of the six and it was really interesting to watch. One thing that he hasn’t done since is explain the reason on why he was sacked. There was lots of speculation, like falling out with the then coach Vincente Moreno about player transfers and a possible falling out with the owners on the direction they wanted the club to go. But he went quietly and never once went to the media to sell his story as he wanted Mallorca to be successful. My take is that when he was appointed he was involved in everything the club did. They had been relegated to Segunda B so they had to get rid of staff and work on a skeleton basis meaning he was heavily involved in all aspects of the club. Including the first team, B team and academy, as well as the business side, finance, HR, marketing, ticketing, communication, legal, compliance and foundation/CSR areas of the club. As they made their way back into La Liga it became clear he couldn’t do it all himself and needed to let others come in to key positions. Maybe he didn’t agree but you can’t deny he was definitely an important part of the resurgence of Mallorca.
The Professional Footballers Association or as it’s better known the PFA has been run by Gordon Taylor since 1981. He earns two million pounds a year, yes you heard that right. He’s the highest paid Union Boss in the World. Note that the incoming candidate will earn a quarter of that.
More than 200 former and current players signed a letter in November 2018 calling for Taylor to quit and urging fresh governance.
Voices of discontent heightened recently amid a perceived slow reaction by the PFA to the incidence of dementia among former footballers.
In 2019, the PFA commenced a “full and open review” into its finances and a new leadership structure would be put in place.
A three person panel which included former Manchester United player and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville chose the people to interview the candidates. The PFA reacted to players’ demands by choosing a racially diverse and gender-balanced selection panel. But of the four independent non-executive directors appointed, only one had any experience in the industry – Women in Football chair Ebru Koksal.
The panel was completed by Head of Business Marketing for Europe at TikTok Trevor Johnson, Amazon managing director Darren Hardman and former karate world champion Geoff Thompson — none of whom have worked in football, leading to concerns that players’ views will not be represented.
The candidates were Maheta Molango, former Republic of Ireland midfielder Gareth Farrelly, PFA chairman Ben Purkiss, former Stoke striker Jon Walters and former Chelsea defender Paul Elliott.
Molango and Farelly were invited for another interview, where Molango was eventually chosen.
There was immediate unhappiness among players that the advisory panel had only put forward one candidate rather than producing options to be voted on in a full election of PFA members.
Gary Neville defended Molango’s appointment, accusing critics of xenophobia.
‘It’s clear that football is resisting this appointment,’ said Neville. ‘It’s actually the first time there has probably been a truly independent process within English football around the appointment of a CEO.
‘This candidate has the skill-set, he’s representative of the membership and, before he even gets in seat, it’s almost as if it’s been determined whether he’s good enough or not. I wish the new candidate all the best. I hope the members validate and accept his appointment.’
I think Neville was referencing some of the headlines in the papers when Molango was announced.
The Times said a shock choice and a journeyman footballer.
The Guardian concentrated on his lack of games in the English League.
But when you go through his career, for me he is a perfect choice.
Born in Switzerland.
Former footballer, Played at Atletico Madrid youth level, Waker Berghausen (Germany), Brighton, Lincoln, Oldham, Wrexham.
Ran a Football club, Real Mallorca.
Qualified Lawyer, studied in Madrid. Worked in Spain & USA, specialising in Sports law, employment & Labour law.
Languages: English, Spanish, Italian, German, French.
In the continuing strive for diversity, the first black chief executive of a leading English football body. Not that that should be a requisite, as I think what I listed before makes him an outstanding candidate.
I spoke last week on the Hawksbee & Jacobs Show on Talksport about his upcoming appointment. In fact they said I should become his agent after the glowing report I gave him.
I also sent him a message via LinkedIn last week and received the following reply;
‘Hi Richie, many thanks for reaching out. I appreciate it. There are still a few steps that need to be taken before the whole process is completed so let’s chat again once this is done and dusted. In the meantime, I wish you all the best. Maheta’
And that’s just it. Despite all the planning that’s gone into this they now have a push back from the members who say they are not happy. I think if they read more about him or in fact read this rather than the negative press then they would decide he is without doubt the Man to lead them forward. I wish him well.
Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org