The fourth richest Czech, Daniel Křetínský, owner of Sparta Prague, dominated the first two editions of the Top 50 most influential people in Czech football, in January and April. This time, however, in the new edition of the ranking compiled by Luděk Mádl, the football expert Seznam Zpráv, Křetínský found his conqueror.
It turned out to be Adolf Šádek, the owner of Viktoria Plzeň. In wealth, the two are incomparable. Forbes magazine credits Křetínský with assets worth 87.8 billion crowns, along with Patrik Tkáč he owns Sparta and also a shareholding in English club West Ham United.
Šádek’s club called Viktoria Plzeň had to rely on loans not long ago and, in a way, was playing for his life. However, he won the rather dangerous game. He was close to winning the Czech title, so he got the basic requirements for attacking at the start of the Champions League.
We know the result, on Wednesday night Viktoria Plzeň will face Barcelona at Camp Nou. And duels with Bayern Munich and Inter Milan will follow. The Pilsen club can really count on an income of about half a billion crowns.
Billionaire Daniel Křetínský has been dreaming of such sports achievements for many years. Sparta’s financial balance has been significantly improved this year by the transfer of Adam Hložek to Leverkusen and Dávid Hanck to Feyenoord, so it is likely that the club’s shareholders will not have to plug holes in the budget from their own funds, as usual.
Top 50 in Czech football
But Křetínský did not have significant sporting success for many years, as well as more firmly re-anchoring his Prague club in the European cup. After two recent starts, Sparta is once again out of its group stage.
Křetínský’s social influence is enormous due to his position and economic opportunities and far from being limited by the borders of the Czech Republic, he invests in various fields in Great Britain, France and other countries.
Through his personal relationship with Anna Kellnerová, he is associated with the largest economic “player” on the Czech market, i.e. the PPF group. One can successfully speculate about the possibilities and strength of Křetínský’s influence on other Czech businessmen, as well as on politicians, media, and possibly other parts of state administration or social life.
Not only judges and customs of Buran
On the contrary, Adolf Šádek could see the furthest from the office of the mayor or governor of Pilsen. His sphere of influence is 99 percent football. But precisely because he personally plays football and one hundred percent, Šádek can be more effective here than Křetínský, where football is after all a relaxed, marginal zone in which this billionaire practices of his influence indirectly, through authorized persons.
Especially through Spartan vice-president Dušan Svoboda, who is also the head of the league, from the position of chairman of the League Football Association. Miroslav Pelta is thought to have used the votes needed to be elected to this football position, and more recently Adolf Šádek.
Many fans narrowly reduce the personality of Adolf Šádek to the fact that he is the boss of Viktoria, he sometimes shows himself in a rather noisy behavior, and they also associate him with supposed pressures on referees . But Šádek can do more.
It is able to pull strings across multiple platforms. Not only, for example, in the transfer of the market, but also in the politics of football, for example, when the post-Berber wing maneuvers in front of the general election meetings of the football association, on the grounds of the FAČR executive committee, of that he is a member, or from the position of vice-chairman of the League Football Association, which, according to many, he de facto roams.
Šádek can effectively connect all this and create a really strong influence behind the scenes, which is quite different than Křetínský. But due to Šádek’s commitment, flexibility and lack of principles, this leads to the fact that Adolf Šádek has the last laugh. While Daniel Křetínský was getting more opportunities to explore where in his Spartan kingdom, which of course also extends to many other areas of Czech football, he made a mistake again.
The triumvirate of the main representatives of the most powerful clubs in the country was completed by Jaroslav Tvrdík, boss of Slavia, in third place in the ranking. He is not a shareholder of the club, “only” a manager hired by the Chinese owners, but very successful in this position. Until this year’s Pilsen upheaval, Slavia dominated Czech football with several titles and regular successful participation in European Cups. Tvrdík was also able to establish Slavia in the international transfer market, where the club receives significant funding.
Jaroslav Tvrdík achieved his most important success in recent months in the fight against cancer. According to reports from Eden, he is returning full speed to his managerial work.
However, this time, another coach, a newcomer to the top ten, the coach from Pilsen, Michal Bílek, surpassed the sporting mastermind of the Slavic achievements, coach Jindřich Trpišovský. Šádek had a very lucky hand in choosing him. And in Bílka’s hands, Victoria’s underrated football team thrived.
The rising star in this regard is Martin Svědík, the man “responsible” for the rise of the club 1. FC Slovácko, leading to the domestic cup trophy and also to the UEFA Conference League. You can find him now in the 11th position of the ranking.
Fousko is being attacked from both sides
Compared to previous editions of the ranking, Lenka Bradáčová, the chief prosecutor, whose office oversees cases related to the alleged criminal activities of Roman Berber, the former vice-chairman of the FAČR, within the framework of Czech football, has dropped into the Top 10.
It appears that all charges resulting from the accumulated evidence have been filed, and the prosecution of some individuals is ongoing. At the moment, it seems unlikely that another person or club will be involved in a corruption or other kind of this kind, however, to be sure, Lenka Bradáčová is still “hiding” in the 21st place in the ranking.
In a way, within the football environment, his role has been taken over by the Ethics Commission, which takes in police documents and works within football within the framework of disciplinary proceedings. The chairman of the commission, Jan Eisenreich, is located in the 12th position of the ranking.
In the Football Association of the Czech Republic, its chairman Petr Fousek logically maintains a good position. However, he does not have a simple position. As long as the Moravian chamber was still loyal to him, sharp criticism of his work was heard in Czech from both poles into which it was divided.
It is a conservative stream of former regular Berber voters, represented in the ranks by, for example, the Czech FAČR vice-chairman Jan Richter, otherwise the manager of the ANO movement, in the 35th position. However, close to him is Milan Kratina, a young billionaire who is one of the engines of the progressive F-evolution movement.
Compared to April’s management, coach Pavel Vrba does not fit into the new form of Top 50, because he left Sparta and is not doing well in Baník Ostrava. Zlín pair Zdeněk Červenka – Zdeněk Grygera and Slavia footballer Tomáš Holeš were also eliminated. Also Petr Čech, now a former member of Chelsea’s management, as well as former national team manager Libor Sionko. And also coach Ivan Hašek, who was considered in connection with the position of national team coach of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but he did not succeed in any of these addresses.
Newcomers to the ranks are new Spartan coach Brian Priske and Hradec Kralove director Richard Jukl. After a short break, the aforementioned Milan Kratina returned to the ranks.
New positions were also taken by the finally appointed technical (if you like sports) director of FAČR Zdeněk Psotka, interim manager of the national team Tomáš Pešír and the national goalkeeper Tomáš Vaclík together with Martin Hrdlička. The son of a legendary Teplice official combines the role of chairman of the Ústí Regional Football Association with the work of a player’s agent. In his portfolio we can find, for example, the famous Lukáš Provod.
The list of the most influential people in Czech football has been published by Seznam Zprávy since January, approximately every quarter. It was compiled on the basis of publicly available data, as well as Seznam Zpráv investigation findings, from interviews with people from the football environment and according to the author’s years of experience in the conditions in domestic football.
Power and influence come not only from the role, but also from the respect that the given person enjoys in the environment. And from his ability to influence events, whether formally or informally. When updating the ranking, it also takes into account the current situation related to the relevant period, it also reflects the results of sports, the success that causes additional economic, so power or influence of synergies.