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SBD Global/December 16, 2013/Finance

FIFA Considering OK On Limited Third-Party Investments In Footballers

A person with "direct knowledge of the situation" said that FIFA "supports allowing investors to buy players' transfer rights in some cases," putting football's ruling body "at odds with European officials who want a total ban," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. A report by accounting firm KPMG Europe LLP’s Spanish unit showed that "cash-strapped" European clubs have "sold stakes" in as many as 1,100 footballers. In Brazil, the host of next year’s World Cup, "investors have stakes in about 90 percent of top division players." The source, who "asked not to be identified because the talks are ongoing," added that FIFA may propose "limiting clubs to the sale of stakes in three players, with investors restricted to purchases in two countries." UEFA and UEFA President Michel Platini "want a total ban," which already exists in football's "richest competition, England's Premier League." Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore said in March that "selling player-transfer stakes is similar to 'indentured slavery' and that it raised the risk of match-fixing." The "person familiar with the talks" said that a ban could "severely damage several clubs in Portugal, Spain and Latin America because their economic models are based on receiving funding in exchange for transfer rights." Investors' combined stakes in European-based talent are worth as much as $1.5B, or 5.7% of the "regional transfer market's value" (BLOOMBERG, 12/13).
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