Santos report rising debt levels as club faces life in Brazil’s second tier


May 1 – Santos, who were relegated to Brazil’s Serie B last season, have reported rising debt of more than 4%, from R$578 million ($111 million) in 2022, to more than R$600 million in 2023. 

It is not uncommon for Brazilian clubs to carry high debt levels, which are often restructured over decades, but more recently Brazilian clubs have taken a different approach to reducing debt as they have modernised commercial structures.

In 2022 Santos changed club leadership from president Andres Rueda with the new management focussing on generating more revenue through increased fan membership, exhibition matches and the sale of players.

Last year, the club sold Ângelo and Deivid Washington for a combined R$140 million.

However, relegations from the Brazilian top flight for the first time in their 111-year history will not have helped their commercial proposition.

Pelé’s former club were condemned to Serie B after losing to Fortaleza on the final day of the campaign. Their defeat in combination with Serginho’s late goal for Vasco da Gama against Bragantino ensured that the Rio club, owned by 777, remained in the Serie A.

Santos remain Brazil’s most recognisable club, rising to global fame because of Pelé’s presence in the 60s. They twice won the Copa Libertadores with Pelé and toured the globe to play tournaments and exhibition matches.

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