Albion chief executive joins global soccer summit

Paul Barber joined more than 60 football industry leaders, including several former players, to discuss how the game can adapt in the post Covid-19 environment at the World Football Summit.

By Bruce Talbot • 07 July 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Albion chief executive Paul Barber.

Because of the pandemic the event has been held online with speakers from around the world including FIFA president Gianni Infantino as well as former legends Didier Drogba, Iker Casillas and Emilio Butragueno taking part.

Barber, Albion's chief executive and deputy chairman, joined Butragueno, who won 69 caps for Spain and is director of public relations for his former club Real Madrid, Luigi de Laurentiis, owner of Italian club Bari, and Alex Leitao, the chief executive of MLS club Orlando City, on a panel to discuss the financial issues facing the game because of the loss of revenue resulting from Covid-19.

“The pandemic is a wake-up call to manage our businesses more professionally,” said Barber.

“Sometimes in football we are guilty of stretching that bit too far to try and get to the next level too quickly without the security of income behind it.

“It’s a problem for the whole world and each country’s economy and football is part of that.

“Hopefully it’s not too many but unfortunately we are going to see some of the businesses in the football industry failing.”

Hundreds tuned into the special virtual conference, and Barber says the summit is an opportunity to canvas views and learn about initiatives from decision-makers in other parts of the football world as well as representing Albion on the global stage.

He said, “First of all it was an honour to be asked to contribute to the summit and to be able to represent the club on this forum.

“Hearing how clubs and federations are reacting to the effects of the pandemic throughout the football world was very interesting. We share best practice and ideas and hopefully we can all play our part to help the game recover from what is a major crisis and more forward.”