Nelio Lucas, chief executive of the Malta-registered subsidiary of London-based Doyen Group, told the Bloomberg news agency that Doyen is looking to invest €200m ($277.6m) after profiting from its first €100m venture. He declined to name any of the European businessmen who are backing the effort.
Doyen’s set-up works by lending cash to clubs in order for them to sign players, with repayment expected within three years. The teams are able to keep the players and repay the debt or alternatively sell the athlete, return the loan money and a share of any profit from the transfer to Doyen.
Lucas said the setup does not breach an EPL ban on funds owning stakes in the economic rights of players. “We can operate with this model in the Premier League and we’re preparing a version of this model especially for the UK,” Lucas said. “At the end of the day, there is also a big gap between the big clubs and the other clubs. I’m sure the Premier League sees us with good eyes.”
EPL officials refused to comment on Doyen’s plans but reiterated that rules ban third-party ownership. Doyen claims that it loans money and its set-up does not involve such ownership.
Premier League spokesman Nick Noble said: “We believe that the practice threatens the integrity of competitions, reduces the flow of transfer income into the sport and has the potential to exert external influence on player transfer decisions. Any lending arrangements entered into by Premier League clubs must not allow lenders to exert influence over player transfers.”
Doyen has already signed up a number of football clubs outside of the EPL, including Brazilian outfit Santos. In 2011, Doyen was also involved with the transfer of Colombian striker Radamel Falcao from Portuguese side FC Porto to Atlético Madrid for a fee of €40m, despite the Spanish club being heavily in debt at the time. Falcao (pictured) spent two seasons with Atlético, during which he helped the club win the Uefa Europa League and Spanish Copa del Rey before moving to French Ligue 1 club AS Monaco for a reported €60m in May 2013.
The practice of third-party ownership (TPO) is widespread in 10 eastern European countries – where investors are said to hold about 40 per cent of the market value of league players – and is increasing in Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. Uefa is keen to completely eradicate TPO, while Fifa is set to discuss the matter at its congress in June in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
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