Spanish Football League (LFP) president Javier Tebas has moved to encourage third-party investment in the domestic game, a move at odds with UEFA’s drive to eradicate such business models.
Tebas’ comments came at a meeting concerning the use of investment funds in football, which was held at the LFP’s offices in Madrid on Friday. The meeting was attended by Nelio Freire, chief executive of Doyen Group – a major player in the third-party investment business – along with representatives from clubs including Sevilla and Sporting Gijon. Tebas outlined his belief that the subject of third-party ownership (TPO) of players has been unfairly criticised. “Investment funds have been much demonised,” said Tebas, according to ESPNFC.com. “They allow us to maintain competitive capacity if they are perfectly regulated and work with total transparency.”
Tebas believes TPO provides valuable additional investment opportunities for Spanish clubs, with banks proving reluctant lenders amidst the country’s economic crisis. “It is a form of alternative financing which would make it possible to have better competition and to avoid the possible disappearance of clubs,” he said. “Regulation is essential to treat them with precise judicial security so that there are more investors. The LFP will work to see if, in the first third of next year, we can have (a system of) regulation.”
UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino stated in March that the controversial practice of TPO has “no place” in football. Infantino said that European football’s governing body is against TPO due to four key factors, including its potential impact on financial fair play regulations. Along with the English Premier League, TPO is currently outlawed in France’s Ligue 1 and in Polish football. FIFA says it is evaluating the “complex matter,” while UEFA has previously said it will seek to introduce its own ban if world football’s governing body fails to take action. A European Commission report was released in February examining the possibility of regulating TPO under European law. TPO is said to be a US$3 billion-a-year market and is common practice in southern Europe and South America.