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Volume 6 No. 213

Finance

UEFA is reportedly "taking a closer look into AC Milan's financial dealings as questions grow around the Serie A side's sudden spending increase over the summer," according to José Félix Díaz of MARCA. Delegates from the club appeared at UEFA HQ two weeks ago "to make their case that their financial might is legitimate and not in breach of Financial Fair Play rules." However, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin "remains unconvinced and awaits the results of a disciplinary committee investigation into where the club's transfer funds have actually come from." The club spent more than €200M last summer on new signings and UEFA subsequently "asked for guarantees." These financial commitments reportedly "appear to have been pledged based on the future success of the team," namely its entry into the Champions League, which is "not enough of a guarantee in FFP terms" and could earn the club "a big penalty such as exclusion from continental competitions" (MARCA, 11/21).

League Two side Stevenage is "the first football club in the world to sell bonds directly to its fans online via crowdfunding," organizers of the deal said, according to Francesco Canepa of REUTERS. Stevenage raised £600,000 ($793,900) in September via a five-year bond to rebuild a stand in its stadium. It is set to be followed by Serie B side Frosinone Calcio, which unveiled a bond worth up to €1.5M ($1.76M) on Monday. Crowdfunding platform Tifosy, which is "behind the deals," was founded by former Italy int'l Gianluca Vialli, along with a former Goldman Sachs banker and two other investors. Vialli said, "We're close to finalizing something with a big club in Serie A and an (English) Premiership club as well. We're also talking to many other clubs in football, rugby and cricket." He added that Tifosy takes a 4-6% cut of all funds raised. Such fundraising "offers a new source of income to smaller sports clubs." But it "comes with risks for investors." The Stevenage and Frosinone bonds "cannot be traded and their holders would only be repaid after senior creditors such as banks in the event of a default." There are also "perils associated if the team performs poorly on the pitch." In Stevenage's case, if the club is relegated in the last year of the bond, the repayment is delayed by one year (REUTERS, 11/21).