A Belgian football club offered itself as a conduit to help a fictitious investment firm own players in England, in an apparent breach of Fifa rules banning the practice of third-party ownership.
Jimmy Houtput, the chairman of Oud-Heverlee Leuven (OHL), said that the club would be willing to pose as the owner of footballers whose economic rights would actually be held by the fake company. Under the scheme proposed by Mr Houtput, the firm would put up the money to buy players and then receive the vast majority of the sell-on fees when they were transferred to the clubs of their choice.
Mr Houtput believed OHL, a second division club, would benefit from additional talent on its team without extra financial cost, even if only temporarily. The club would also receive a cut of the sell-on fees to cover any costs it incurred, as well as “for the good work that we did”.
Fifa – football’s governing body – introduced rules banning firms from owning a stake in a player in 2015, The Telegraph reminds.
The disclosure is likely to heighten concerns that third-party ownership (TPO) remains in world football despite the FA prohibiting the practice six years ago, and a subsequent global ban implemented by Fifa last year.