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SBD Global/March 8, 2013/International Football

Scudamore Wants FIFA To Ban Investment Funds From Buying Shares In Players

Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore wants world football to "follow his lead by banning investment funds from buying shares in players," a $3B-a-year market, according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG.  His opponents say that the plan "won’t work." The world’s richest football league was roiled in '06 when West Ham United signed Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, two Argentines whose transfer rights were "wholly owned by funds." The deal led to lawsuits, fines and a "controversy that still rages." Scudamore said, “A player in my view is not indentured slavery. The registration of that player has been bought for the benefit of that club, and then that club either works that player to the end of his useful life, like any other asset, or that player is transferred.” The former Thomson Corp. senior VP persuaded the Premier League to "outlaw the practice" in '08 and has lobbied FIFA to do likewise. FIFA said it is evaluating the “complex matter.” UEFA has said that if FIFA fails to take action it "will introduce its own ban." The investment-fund issue has "split the sport." While UEFA may ban it, and France and Poland have already done so, it is "accepted in southern Europe and South America." Eighteen-time Portuguese champion Sporting Lisbon has "sold stakes in all but four of its 28-member roster." Traffic Sports int'l business President Jochen Loesch said in Brazil, 90% of players in the country’s top league “are somehow linked to investors.” The company has invested more than $75M in the rights of about 60 players since it was established in '07 (BLOOMBERG, 3/6).
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