Strong regional affiliations helped Osasuna remain the people’s club

Osasuna president Luis Sabalza said that his club draws its strength from the sentiments of the people of Navarre region, who have been unflinching in their loyalty to the existence of the club.

Osasuna president Luis Sabalza.   -  Twitter/ @caosasuna_en

Notable football clubs the world over are forsaking their entity to large corporations or to rich owners while looking for survival. But there are a few exceptions like CA Osasuna in the La Liga, which have been able to remain a member-run club for over a century and stave off corporate takeovers.

Osasuna president Luis Sabalza told a forum of international media that his club draws its strength from the sentiments of the people of Navarre region, who have been unflinching in their loyalty to the existence of the club.

“We are proud of being a member-run club. But it is really difficult staying that way as football has become a business these days with a lot of international companies breathing on your back. But we are different in trying to retain the essence of traditional football. The sentiments of the fans play a very important part and so we always look to survive in the way we started even though the current situation is quite against it,” Sabalza told Sportstar.

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“We have 20,000 members and they are the owners of the club who decide what has to be done with the club not directly but through a general assembly or some sort of a Parliament. We have 400 members who are chosen democratically by the members to represent them in the decision making. We also have five members chosen by the assembly to decide on the club’s finances. All the money that we get in is for the club and all the money that is spent is for the club again. We do not have to pay dividends and run on membership fees,” Sabalza gave out the details.

“We have been through very bad times and have not been as stable as we are today. Undoubtedly our club has been well rooted to the emotions of the area that we represent and that gives some stability to the club. As a result all the children of Navarre come to our academy and they have the true desire to represent Osasuna. They help the club during its bad times because they are not just footballers but they treat the club as something of their own,” Sabalza said.

“That is why we have never looked to become a ‘public limited’ company as all our members want to remain connected to their roots. This has continued through generations in the past 100 years as the people of Navarre always remain sentimentally attached to Osasuna,” he concluded.

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