This is an interesting & very human story on how Big Business “distorts” information, blemishes the image of Football, idols who eventually show how really "human" they are & in the process shatter the hopes & dreams of young people. Here is the brief & the rundown.

Last season the current Spanish League Corporative sponsor of the 1º Division & 2º Division, the Spanish Bank “
BBVA”, approved & allowed to put in motion with associated partners the grand idea & marketing Plan called “Cracks TV”. The idea was to scout around Spain & the World potential young Football players & put the lucky chosen few into a “Football Academy” 24 hours to find the “next big star”. The whole action was backed by Football legends Zinedine Zidane & Enzo Francescoli who were the public image of this "historic" TV reality action that was sold as “revolutionary” & would give the chance to the luck winner to “play in the Best League in the World”. The winner chosen out of 17 candidates was promised to do the 2010 pre-season with Atletico de Madrid & thus open up the opportunity of possibly gaining a contract & playing in the Liga. Obviously this was totally up to the winner who had to show & demonstrate his talents, but one would expect that the winner of the “BBVA Cracks TV” Camp was sufficiently prepared & talented to be a worthy candidate for any Spanish 1º Division Team. The “BBVA Cracks TV” Academy had Zidane, Francescoli as advisors, plus a string of Top ex- Football professionals who played in the Spanish 1º Division training, educating & eventually choosing the “Best” candidate who they considered the next “Crack”.

The idea was great in theory; adapt the “Big Brother” format to Football, do a string of scouting days throughout Spain, Latin America & Asia, attract thousands of would be candidates & take this to the TV screen. Spanish TV “Cuarto” was the chosen media carrier & they were delighted as they could fill their TV space & sell advertising to companies selling products for a younger target. BBVA was delighted because to participate everyone needed to register on their webpage & thus increase the banks data base with “juicy” future clients information, plus they had the BBVA logo plastered all around Spain & the World, on the Internet, on TV, on the radio, on the press …etc. Lastly, all the partners involved could sell the "pitch line" that they were helping in creating dreams, supporting the youth & their ideals & doing some real Corporative Social Responsibilty for the good of Sport, Football & the society.

Today in Spanish paper “AS”,
Sport journalist Javier Matallanas, comments on how things really were, & how things have ended with the eventual “BBVA Cracks TV" winner. According to the story, the winner of “BBVA Cracks TV”, Ivan Ruiz (below), never did the pre-season with the "senior" Atletico de Madrid ( Forlan, Aguero, Simao ...) as sold , promised & let believe, but with their B TEAM ( currently in 2º Division B Group II). Ivan Ruiz was not allowed & never got to play a game as promised by “BBVA Cracks TV” during the pre-season. Ivan Ruiz was sent home on the 16th of August without any explanation. The above journalist diplomatically writes that TV Cuarto & BBVA had no knowledge of this last action by Atletico de Madrid, but I don’t buy it as the money involved in the Marketing Idea was so huge that it would never have gone ahead without ALL PARTIES not leaving clear their intentions & their part in the deal.

According to the story in "AS", the winner of “BBVA Cracks TV”, the already mentioned Ivan Perez, is devastated at home with his Football dreams shattered. The winner of the TV reality that was meant to be the “next big thing in Football” was morally “mislead”.

An array of Football experts – coaches & players – travelled Spain & the World to come back with 17 candidates who were up to the levels needed & Ivan Ruiz won because these experts – including it seems Zidane & Francescoli – believed he was good enough for the Spanish 1ºst Division – or at least have the potential. The cruel reality is that since the end of the project there has reined a sinister silence over everything involved with “BBVA Cracks TV” with no follow up news from the sponsors - except the courtesy video below - on how the “prodigy Football child” was progressing. Nothing until today when Sports journalist Matallanas has exposed the truths behind this purely Marketing exercise that had in reality nothing to do with Football at all. Below is a video that could make one think that serves in helping to "cover-up" any future possible unforeseen problems that may arise. Ivan Ruiz is shown training in his first day with "At Madrid
B", but his testamonial cannot be censured as he speaks of his dreams, to play in the Spanish 1º Division...& Spanish National Team!!!! Did not anyone tell Ivan that it was not going to happen? As already mentined above, At Madrid B
sent the player home without explanations; apparently he didn´t make the grade for a 2ºDivision B Group II side (equivalente of a 4th Division elsewhere). How bad must be the opinions of Zidane (Real Madrid Presidential advisor) , Francescoli & the array of Football experts on "Cracks TV"?

The question arises. Is there a case of liable false advertising & marketing? Should the “BBVA Cracks TV” winner Ivan Ruiz take legal action against BBVA, Cuarto TV, Arroba (the advertising agency), Atletico de Madrid S.a …& everyone else involved for false communication & not delivering their part of the promised deal? In theory, if the "AS" story is correct , yes, but I think difficult to put in action as I suppose that the winner had to sign a load of contracts that would clean the hands of all involved from any legal action. Ivan Ruiz was so sold the idea of having a chance to become a professional Football player that he would have signed his soul to the devil himself if needed.

In conclusion, here is another example of how big business uses Sports to get to their desired target & attempt to sell their services & products. They enter the “life” of many under the message of doing good & improving Sports, but their real & only interest are profits; just ask the “BBVA Cracks TV” winner Ivan Ruiz. What about all the other actors involved; the TV station, Atletico de Madrid, Advertising Agency, Zidane, Francescoli, the ex players…bla bla bla? The business chewed the Sport; the money ruined the dreams of young Football players, the marketing shattered the dreams of Ivan Ruiz & the distortions tricked all of the rest of us.

Our wishes go out to Ivan Ruiz.

Sales pitch from Zidane : “If your DREAM is to play in the Best League in the World”? ( the reality was At Madrid B?????) This is your opportunity. Your dream is “Cracks”. We are looking for the next "crack". Enters? ( the BBVA web) : Someone PLEASE ask IVAN RUIZ!



Varun said...

This is shameful
Athletico isn't this sort of shameful club, i expected Real to be involved in this sort of stuff not Athletico.

Anonymous said...

Nice article! I just hope that Ivan will soon be able to find back the love that he's continued for many years.

It's also a shame that this ''beautiul game' has been tied together with marketing, profits etc etc. I for one am sad what is happening to modern football. Anyway keep up the good work, I'm enjoying this blog. (Y)

Iris said...

Shattering stuff. Poor Ivan! & the y fooled candidates...

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