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Sep 20, 2013

LFP chief backs third-party investment

Liga de Futbol Profesional (LFP) president Javier Tebas has welcomed the involvement of third-party investors in Spanish football but insisted that he plans to regulate the practice in La Liga.

Radamel Falcao celebrates after converting an early penalty for Monaco.
Javier Tebas is not against third-party investors in football.

His comments came at a meeting on the use of investment funds in football. It was held at the LFP’s offices in Madrid on Friday morning and was attended by Doyen Group chief executive Nelio Freire and representatives from clubs including Sevilla and Sporting Gijon.

UEFA has previously called on FIFA to prohibit the third-party ownership of players' transfer rights, while the European governing body’s president, Michel Platini, has said the idea of third parties buying and selling footballers is morally wrong.

However, LFP chief Tebas said the concept had been unfairly criticised.

"Investment funds have been very demonised," he said. "They allow us to maintain competitive capacity if they are perfectly regulated and work with total transparency."

He argued that, because of the financial crisis, banks are not lending in Spain, meaning clubs need access to credit from somewhere.

"It is a form of alternative financing which would make it possible to have better competition and to avoid the possible disappearance of clubs,” the sports lawyer 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."

Doyen’s website claims the company have invested in Geoffrey Kondogbia, Steven Defour, Alvaro Negredo, Alfredo Botia, Eliaquim Mangala and Radamel Falcao -- who joined Ligue 1 side Monaco from Atletico Madrid for €60 million in the summer.

Doyen CEO Freire denied third-party investors could make players leave or join clubs against their own wishes.

"It all depends, always, on the wishes of the player," he said. "Nothing is done without his consent."

In December 2012, UEFA's executive committee called for third-party ownership of footballers to be prohibited outright. Platini said then that there were fundamental conflict of interest issues around the practice.

“I do not think it is very good if players from several teams belong to a financial company or belong to people,” he added. “I think ethically, morally, it is not good. We have thought about it and asked FIFA to deal with it.”

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