The re-elected president of the Royal Andalucian Golf Federation has several major challenges during his term, including reducing the organisation’s high level of debt.

After a turbulent election process that has taken two years to resolve, and which has been accompanied by legal action by the candidates, the Royal Andalucian Golf Federation (RFGA in Spanish) finally has a president, Ángel de la Riva. He has carried out a major renovation of the executive committee and resumed his duties at the helm of the organisation, keen to get down to work.

The truth is that it will take some hard work to regain the organisation’s image and ease its economic situation – in a delicate state due to late or non-payment by various golf courses and clubs. This is the last time that 74-year-old De la Riva – who likes to be known as the “Quixote of Golf” – will be presiding over the RFGA, as he insists he will not stand for president at the next election.

- What is the economic situation with the RFGA?

- It’s bad, especially due to the high bad debt. In addition, revenue has decreased because there are fewer registered members and also because Junta de Andalucía (regional government) subsidies have fallen to zero, and they gave us €25,000.

The club’s debt with the federation has increased from €100,000, when the elections were called two years ago, to €600,000.

The number of registrations has dropped from 51,000 to 43,000, and this year alone it has been reduced by 3,000.

So some hard work awaits us to try to sort out the accounts and avoid such high debt. That will be one of our main objectives during the current term. To that end, we will carry out personalised viability plans with the aim of enabling courses and clubs to pay off their debits. What is clear is that the philosophy has completely changed: we have to achieve impressive savings because the situation calls for it.

We have to secure what is known as atypical revenue, for example, through a sponsors club; the old headquarters has to be sold; and we have to make a bigger effort to attract more courses and make them see the advantages of belonging to the federation.

- What are these advantages?

- There are many benefits for golf courses joining the federation. For example, they can process all competitions when it comes to increases and reductions in handicap (non-federation members can’t do this); use the competition management programme that the RFGA provides for free; benefit from the insurance policy that covers accidents related to temporary licence-holders; use the slope system, as it’s owned by the USGA, with exclusive use by courses that are federation members with a licence granted by the EGA; hold official competitions under the auspices of the RFGA and Royal Spanish Golf Federation (REFEG); include their courses in the RFEG and RFGA’s official calendars; guides, websites and attendance at specialised fairs… However, in addition to these and other advantages, the RFGA – through contacts by its commercial golf courses committee with official organisations (regional government, tax office, etc.) – has been able to secure major benefits for courses, such as the application of special taxes, agricultural fuel for use on courses, etc.

- What is your opinion about the latest achievements of Málaga’s Miguel Ángel Jiménez?

- He is going to receive a very well deserved Provincial Gold Medal and I believe that everything they grant him is too little because, apart from being a great friend of mine, he is an exemplary sportsman. It’s a matter of great pride for Málaga, Andalucía and Spain to have someone like Miguel Ángel. We are going to seek

– if it’s possible during someone’s life, because we Spaniards usually only pay such tribute on death – that a street be named in his honour. They’ve given one to Antonio Banderas, poets, people from the cultural scene, and I believe it would be a good idea to do the same for a great sports figure. Also, I’m going to propose, as president of the RFGA, that he joins the federation’s advisory committee, which meets once a year or on other occasions that require consideration of an important issue.