Valencia C.F. news
June, 22 2016

The objective is to give back as well says VCF veterans' president Giner

Interview with Valencia Veterans' Association president Fernando Giner

The idea is that we give back to Valencia CF and the community says Fernando Giner, the president of the club’s veterans’ association that was set-up to support footballers after they retired.

The game has changed dramatically over the past couple of decades since the organisation was started in 1996 but it still plays a valuable part in helping footballers after they retire.

Increasingly, though, the idea is for it to be a two-way process and that the veterans can also offer social assistance through various schemes that have been established in collaboration with Valencia CF.

While money has been pumped into the game there are still many players that find themselves on the margins after they retire.

“There are still a lot of problems in football even though many players earn a lot of money,” explained former-Valencia defender Giner.

“We have a statistic that an average of two from every dressing room will have a problem within ten years of stopping playing football.

“In football it is usually the player that is affected by errors made for example with investments or something that is written on social media. They put their trust in someone but often this is misguided.”

It is true that the game has moved on a lot and that there are more opportunities available to ex-players.

“There are more chances to study now,” says Giner.

“The association was set up to help players when they stopped playing. In the 1970s and 1980s it was a case often of deciding at 17 or 18 to study or play football. It was a risk to play football as you didn’t know how well your career would work out and there was a danger of injury as well. You probably didn’t earn enough back then either to provide for the rest of your life.”

Giner was a stalwart for Valencia for a decade up until the mid-1990s and then gained a firm understanding of football administration having taken up a role in the local government as a sports councillor. In 2009 he was elected to become president for the veterans’ association.

“The idea for the association is to work closely with the club, as they are interconnected, you cannot separate one from the other,” he said.

“There was a generational change seven years ago when I was asked to become president. The plan was that we would look to take things forward and provide more.

“Our aim is not to just raise money but also give to society with Valencia CF always at the heart of course. We have set up programmes involving futsal and eight-aside football.”

Futsal classes, in association with Valencia Foundation, are designed towards children that have problems at school and the incentive is given for them to work harder and get on track by offering them rewards like match tickets.

There are also eight aside football classes provided for kids with the emphasis put on values and that they enjoy themselves.

“We have 14 football sala teams,” says Giner.

“In Spain, football sala is the traditional sport played at school as often there aren’t the facilities available to have a bigger pitch. We have 12 teachers, some of them ex-players, that work on the football sala programme.”

The association is aiming to provide more eye-catching veteran matches where fans will be available to watch stars of the past and the money raised will go to good causes.

“We have charity games at the moment where players like Albelda, Baraja and Mendieta play although there is a problem these days that with football so international, and players coming from all over the world, it is not so easy to organise,” said Giner.

“With this in mind we are going to organise ‘legend’ matches at least once a year when players can come. Also our hope is to play some international matches with other European clubs.

“We are excited about the challenge and what we can provide. (Valencia chairwoman) Layhoon has made it clear that we are important to the club and we are collaborating well.

“A significant step we achieved three years ago was for players to give 0.5 percent of their salary to the veterans’ association and this is important as players also know that they will have support when they retire.”

PARTNERS