PierFrancesco Iazeolla, WSBSPORT CEO, has clocked more than 25 years in small sided soccer and is considered by many the undisputed authority in the industry. Co-inventor of Jorkyball in the 1990s and founder of the first 5 a side soccer club network in France in 2003, PI has launched initiatives in England, France, Italy, Spain, United Arab Emirates, USA and China. WSBSPORT is the only company able to advise anyone who wants to create and launch a 5 a side soccer club anywhere in the world. Together with Romain Sombret, Miguel Bonilla and Luca Bartolini, WSBSPORT form the five-player dream team in the World of 5 a side.
Why did you create a WSBSPORT, a sports company focused on 5 a side?
5 a side soccer has been the favourite sports activity for millions of Europeans for years. Back in the 1990’s I saw this trend expanding to other continents very quickly. 90% of the game was amateur and not regulated by an official sports body, easily making 5 a side a great market space for private initiative; however, creating and managing a quality 5 a side facility is a lot more complicated than one can imagine. WSBSPORT was born to provide future creators of 5 a-side facilities with all the tools necessary for the success of their business, from feasibility study to supply of equipment and furnishings, up to day to day club management.
What is required from an investor who wants to run a succesful soccer club?
He needs WSBSPORT!
Seriously, the success of a 5 a side club relies on 3 key things: entertainment, entertainment and entertainment.
The players must step into a complete soccer experience even before entering the venue.
I would say that a good team, a good advisor and a solid deal for the land where the club is built are fundamental.
What is your vision of the soccer market in the next 5 years?
I believe there will be a progressive expansion in countries where soccer is booming and 5 a side is not present, first of all the USA and China, but also Australia, India and Africa. Being a free-cash-flow generator business with stable EBITDA, 5 a side will attract new investors who will be more willing to fund new initiatives if supported by a solid team.
What challenges do you need to work on profoundly different continents like Europe, Asia, Africa and America?
None in particular. Soccer is global, 5 a side business models are similar everywhere and European standards are the benchmark everywhere in the world, with some exceptions. WSBSPORT manages 5 a side clubs in 3 continents, so nothing surprises us.
One must have the ability to work in teams because each country has its own rules and it is always necessary to work with local professionals. Our team is international and each of us is fluent in four languages, so we can work basically everywhere.
Which role do you think WSBSPORT will have in the industry?
WSBSPORT is a consultant and supplier for those who want to be first-movers or second-movers in a particular market. We are at the heart of the 5 a side ecosystem. This means that if you want to start a 5 a side business, we are your natural consultant. In markets where soccer is already developed, we are the ideal partner to assess your investment and minimize the risk of failure. We also provide manufacturers and installers capable of building state of the art 5 a side fields.