Ex-Banker Aims to Help Scouts Hunt for Another Messi



Soccer teams are using video more than ever to find new players, although scouts say there’s no substitute for the naked eye.

The sport’s transfer window reopens Jan. 1, and a team’s success in the world’s annual $2 billion player-trading market can mean the difference between Champions League millions or bankruptcy. Companies such as Wyscout — an Italian video- scouting service founded by a former Banca Carige SpA (CRG) worker — are stepping in to provide data on 220,000 players worldwide.

With new European financial rules coming into force in 2014 and participation in the region’s Champions League bringing in at least 7.2 million euros ($9.4 million), clubs are under more pressure to sign the right talent at the right price. Teams such as Portsmouth, which won England’s F.A. Cup two years before its 2010 bankruptcy, have suffered after overspending. Video opens up new regions for scouting for big clubs, and lets smaller teams showcase talent for sale, Wyscout says. Still, some say watching a player live gives more insight.

“It’s a brilliant and valuable extra tool but it’s only an extra tool,” Ian Broomfield, who was Tottenham’s chief scout until the departure of coach Harry Redknapp this year, said of video.

Continue reading the rest of Tariq Panja’s Bloomberg article.

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