INVESTMENT FUNDS IN FOOTBALL I



Although it may seem novel to the general public, the phenomenon of investment funds in the world of football has been operating for many years. It was born in Latin America, mainly in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay, although in a more rudimentary version in which the place of investment funds was occupied by "companies" and has gone from being a growing phenomenon to becoming a real problem for FIFA, UEFA and the various national federations. These verify with concern as the control that the national associations exercised in a well-known way in the matter of transfers begins to dilute and become complicated by the appearance of new (financial) actors who claim prominence and singing voice.


These investment funds are nothing more than financial organizations that in one way or another are linked to investment banks, normally and their objective is to obtain capital gains at the time of the transfer of a player in whom they have invested money in exchange for a participation in the federative rights of the same. It is a risky business, with a future that does not always end well, which is why all the necessary “precautions” are taken to reduce those risks and that is where things start to get really difficult, because each member of the chain defends his plot as a belly-up cat, usually at the cost of seeking the greatest capacity for influence and decision and of being in pole position by the time the expected moment arrives.


These funds are created to attract future figures in countries with export soccer markets and seek to “protect, protect and“ sustain ”the players who go to cracks and the clubs that cannot pay what they offer from Europe, for example . In a first stage the fund is well received because it injects the necessary paste so that the player calms down and lives well while gaining prestige and notoriety and the club can have a draft figure that it could not otherwise sustain or maintain. Problems often come when the long-awaited millionaire transfer to Europe knocks on the door. Although everything is written, as it is a negotiation with several bands, each one seeks to bring the ember to the sardine of their interest with all kinds of maneuvers, pressure and influence.


FIFA and especially UEFA do not see this type of practice favorably because they understand that it takes away financial control in the clubs and does not allow it to set limits on management and levels of indebtedness that it considers reasonable. The truth is that he is not without reason. Between this and the clubs bought and managed by tycoons with fortunes of doubtful or illicit origin have a task ahead and it will not be easy for things to be done as those international organizations want. Of course, everything can be much more complicated if we look at aspects such as what we have added to the fact that, sometimes, the advisors and partners of the fund are super agents of the players it manages or former directors of large clubs with interests in all plots or that the aforementioned funds operate from tax havens or from the city of London itself, although sometimes it seems that there is not much difference ... Yes, it is to worry, because football needs transparency, exemplary, professionalism and preparation for the best and most effective management possible and these operations cast shadows, doubts and mistrust on the international football scene.


Much more so if we have as a sample the button of the NEYMAR case, all against all to the court or we see FALCAO in a race difficult to understand from a soccer point of view or if we check the kangaroo jumps in the stratospheric race of JAMES, etc, etc. Of course, to be objective, it is important not to forget that the AT. MADRID was able to enjoy the aforementioned Colombian striker and other players thanks to those funds or that there are teams in our league that are in the first division thanks to these operations or that the greats of Portuguese soccer survive and do excellent business based on those practices for a long time. . Some people think that they help balance the competition and stand up to the greats, but it seems to me that the matter has more shadows than lights and the consequences are usually devastating when they are discovered after a time.


The solution that the funds have the ability to decide only financially and not in sports is an illusion that I do not think will materialize. How and who are going to say to the managers of the investment fund the same if he is the one who puts the money, sometimes even pays the player, finances the club or gives it to the player on duty, in an operation similar to what it would be a financial lease? As we know it, the subject is difficult to solve. It is a remedy for teams that do not have money, are highly indebted or want to earn money with "atypical" operations, something that they hardly achieve. The great president of Real Madrid, D. Santiago Bernabeu said decades ago "if soccer was a business, banks would have been in it for many years." It continues being this way, because this of the funds is not exactly "good" banking, but investment banking and "very financial" and we all know where this way of doing things has led us. More austerity, more quarrying, more patience and professionalism, more training and rigor and we would avoid many of the funds, for sure.

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