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Why Real Madrid Socios are in Spotlight Ahead of CL Final at Wembley

Why Real Madrid Socios are in Spotlight Ahead of CL Final at Wembley

Football is evolving in terms of club ownership. The influence of state-owned clubs powered by their bags of wealth is increasing manifold with the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain run by the state of United Arab Emirates and Qatar respectively finding considerable success in this model.

However, despite being faced by such challenging conditions with little scope of flexing your own riches in front of these powerhouses, clubs that are run by the fans or ‘socios’ are also attracting enormous respect for their adherence to values of their club and retaining decision-making in the hands of their members.

This model of ownership has been making the rounds recently online in the media ever since the tickets for the Champions League Final at Wembley were made available to the fans of the two finalists, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.

Ticket Sales Drama

Apparently, Borussia Dortmund received over 400,000 applications for the tickets to the final, while Real Madrid who certainly have a more global following got less than even 20,000.

While many wonder if Real Madrid’s fans are just not interested in the Final, that is simply not the case. Los Blancos are run by socios themselves, and since it’s in the initial phase of ticket sales, Madrid opened up the availability of seats exclusively to the socios first before to the rest of their fans.

Infact, the socios have the opportunity to apply for five to six tickets per person, thus taking the number of applications to 60,000 plus instead of the 19,000 being reported in the media.

Who Are Socios?

How does one define socios? Well, a socio is just like any another fan, but the fan also happens to be a member of the club. It’s a concept that is mainly prevalent in Spain and Germany with clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona with 100% socio ownership the biggest advocates of this model. It gives them title of ‘fan-owned’.

In Germany, the same model is called the ‘50+1′ rule, which ensures that the club doesn’t fall into the hands of capitalist industrialists or states themselves. A mandatory rule in German football, it mandates that at least 50% of the member association of the club and one more to constitute of socios as to maintain voting rights with the fan-members of the club. The rest is open to investors.

What It Takes to Become a Real Madrid Socio

So how does one become a socio? Well, The fan can avail the membership by paying a small fee for a season and pay this recurring amount to maintain its membership. However, that is only a more convenient route chosen by most clubs.

It is at times tougher to become a socio as is the case with Real Madrid, where you will need to fulfil certain conditions to qualify as a socio, ranging from being a citizen of that country to hereditary basis of availing seats. Even after this, the applications rack up as membership is only offered once one ends their status as a socio as seats are limited.

This model also ensures that the club’s decisions are taken in the best interests of the club and not for motive of profit. It includes maintaining a sustainable wage bill and healthy finances and even electing the president of the club itself through democratic elections. Even the president has to be a socio for a certain number of years to qualify for contesting elections.

The socios way of management of clubs is one that pays tribute to its fans, and prioritizes the very people that unconditionally support the club and even pay out of their own pockets to do so. In return, it is a way of being provided with maintaining low-cost of tickets, pre-sales and many other perks and benefits with participation in decision-making the biggest of them all.

A model that has powered historic clubs for generations and even kept them afloat with a bid to continue winning in a way that is sustainable and driven by the fans.