Matthijs Buchli, son of PA Consulting partner, wins silver at Olympics

19 August 2016

Matthijs Büchli, the son of Jaap Büchli, head of PA Consulting’s Dutch business, has won a silver medal for the keirin cycling track event during the Olympic Games in Rio. The gold medal went to Britain’s Jason Kenny and the bronze medal to Malaysia’s Azizulhasni Awang.

The keirin track event involves cyclists riding in an indoor track behind a motorised pacesetter whose speed gradually increases across a number of laps until he departs the stage – contestants must keep up with the pacemaker – following which there is a free sprint to decide the winner. 

Matthijs Buchli wins a silver medal

On Tuesday the men’s keirin finale was raced at the Rio Olympic Velodrome. One of the participants was Matthijs Büchli, a talented Dutch track cyclist who broke through into the top of the sport back in 2002. Since the beginning of his professional career, Büchli has managed to bike his way to several successes, especially in the keirin discipline. He took home bronze metals from the World Championships in 2013 and 2014, and he won a silver medal at the European Championships.

Matthijs Büchli is the son of Jaap Büchli, who serves as Managing Partner and head of the Dutch office of consulting firm PA Consulting Group – where he has worked for over fifteen years. Jaap Büchli provides guidance on PA’s enabled business change services, together with Adam Hughes from the UK, the lead Partner of the firm’s global Agile practice. Earlier In his career Büchli worked at Atos Consulting, latterly as a Senior Manager.

Naturally Jaap Büchli attend the Olympic keirin final, where he, from the stands, witnessed a hectic start to the race. Twice the race needed to be reset, after several riders, including favourite Jason Kenny, passed the derny too early (before it had left the track). Although overtaking normally leads to early disqualification, the jury decided twice to allow the riders to restart.

Matthijs Buchli at OS2016

Third time the charm, and the six riders went to the last in the battle for the medals. Büchli, who was initially far behind, came from behind to, at the final corner, manoeuvre himself between the British Kenny and the Malaysian Awang, and eventually – just behind Kenny – take home silver.

Remarking on his achievement, Büchli says: “I showed that I'm the fastest in the keirin, after Jason Kenny. But coming second to him feels to me like winning.” About the risky final turn, Büchli with a big smile, says, "I decided to put everything on that last corner, it was a kamikaze tactic and very close. It was either land on my face, or a medal. Thankfully it turned out to be a medal.”

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Champions League glory hard to buy for football’s economic elite

15 March 2019

The thrills and spills of knock-out football can still be one of the sport’s great levelling forces, with the Champions League’s second round having shown that the biggest spenders aren’t always able to buy their way to glory. While a league format broadly favours the squad depth of the beautiful game’s richest teams, half of the tournament’s wealthier teams exited in the first one-on-one elimination round.

As the Champions League burst back into life in February, following an agonising winter break, only two of the 16 teams re-launching their Champions League last-16 bid were from outside the so-called Big Five football leagues. With the exceptions of Portuguese champions FC Porto and Dutch footballing powerhouse AFC Ajax, teams from the world’s biggest spending leagues monopolised the second round. As outlined by analysis from KPMG’s Football Benchmark, the Premier League was represented by four teams, with three clubs come from La Liga and the Bundesliga respectively, while Serie A and Ligue 1 both retained two clubs.

This followed a grimly predictable group phase, which had seen the two most expensive squads progress in all but one of the eight collections of four teams. The one team to buck that trend, Ajax, had last won Europe’s premier club competition in 1995, but those halcyon days have long since faded into memory, and Ajax had failed to progress beyond the group stage in 13 years. With the second youngest squad in the tournament, what now seems to be an awakening football giant had some shocks in store for the second round too.

Group Stage values

Despite an impressive Europa League run which saw the team reach the final two years ago, Ajax had not progressed in a Champions League knockout stage tie since the 1996-97 campaign. That all changed this time, as Erik ten Hag’s men overturned a first leg deficit to trounce Real Madrid 5-3 on aggregate. Having felt hard done by in a 2-1 defeat at the Johan Cruijff ArenA, the Amsterdam club cruised to a 4-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabéu, a result which saw the tournament’s fourth most expensive squad crash out to the third cheapest remaining team.

The supremely expensive team, which had won three Champions Leagues on the trot, had crashed out in spectacular style. For many footballing purists, the end of the seemingly invincible Galacticos would have been enough to restore some of their faith in the sport – but there would soon be more schadenfreude to revel in, as a succession of Europe’s most bank-breakingly costly teams would soon join Los Blancos in their exit.

The pick of the bunch was unquestionably Paris Saint-Germain, who forfeited a 2-0 first leg advantage to somehow crash out of the Champions League. The team, who are fast becoming known as the foremost bottlers in Europe, faced a grim dissection in the French press following a 3-1 defeat by Manchester United at Le Parc de Princes. While it would be over-egging it to paint United as ‘giant killers’, the Red Devils squad is worth markedly less than the club bankrolled by Qatari oil money. PSG hold two of the most expensive players of all time in French World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe and Brazilian playboy Neymar.

Second Round values

Elsewhere, the round’s cheapest squad proved further that money is not everything, as Porto overcame Roma (the Italian club has since parted ways with manager Eusebio Di Francesco in the wake of this humbling) – while Juventus battled back to beat Atlético Madrid. The most ‘balanced’ tie of the round, there was a squad value difference of only €22 million between the two squads, in favour of the Spanish giant. With that being said, €113 million of Juve’s price-tag came from the summer acquisition of Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo’s tie-settling hat-trick went to show that money spent in the right place ultimately makes the difference.

Spending wisely

At the same time, there were also four teams which lived up to their large price-tags. Manchester City pummelled Schalke over the course of two legs, hammering the German team 7-0 in the second game. With the largest squad market value in the tournament, the Citizens showed that their spending had not merely been a frenzy provoked by having large amounts of money to throw about – a la PSG – and that every penny had in fact been used to craft one of the continent’s most well-balanced and dangerous teams, to ultimately contend for the title.

Tottenham Hotspur similarly brushed off Borussia Dortmund, while Liverpool eventually overcame Bayern Munich, to leave no German teams in the tournament. Meanwhile, Barcelona similarly did for the French contingent of the Champions League, bundling out Olympique Lyonnais 5-1.

Operating Revenues

Going forward, the humbled economic superpowers of European football will take solace from the fact that their huge operating revenues will allow them to buy up talent which has emerged in this year’s Champions League. With Real Madrid having re-installed Zinidine Zidane as Head Coach, the club has already committed itself to spending big in the summer, cashing in some €50 million of its €743 billion revenue stream from last year to sign Éder Militão from Porto – who has impressed in this year's Champions League – in the summer.

Whether the PSG project is financially sustainable in the long-term remains to be seen, meanwhile, but with a huge portion of commercial revenues including shirt-sales from the club’s array of superstars, it will likely also seek to bring in more big names in the summer. The club was reportedly in the running to sign Ajax star Frenkie de Jong, before Barcelona finally secured his services from the end of the season.

The likes of Ajax will meanwhile face an uncomfortable wait, as a range of its new crop of outstanding players inevitably attract the attentions of Europe’s top spenders. With the lowest operating revenues of any team left in Europe, the club will face an uphill struggle to hang on to the likes of teenage captain Matthijs de Ligt. However, it would not be the first time that the club has been plundered for its top talent, and what Ajax and clubs of its size can take forward is that with the right eye for lower-key recruitment, they can rebuild, and still challenge Europe’s elite.