Lifting the lid on an unsavoury football transfer business

By Yann Philippin, Michaël Hajdenberg et Michel Henry

Documents obtained from the whistle-blowing platform Football Leaks and analysed by Mediapart and its partners in the journalistic collective European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), provide an astonishing insight into events surrounding the transfer of French midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia from Sevilla to Monaco in 2013. The sometimes sordid saga surrounding Kondogbia’s transfer, in which the player had no part, involved secret commission payments and a plan to hold a sex party in Miami for the president of Real Madrid – who strenuously denies ever taking part in the event. Yann Philippin, Michaël Hajdenberg and Michel Henry report.

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The business of buying a share of a football player, known as Third Party Ownership, or TPO, centred on the purchase of a player’s economic rights. These could be made by individuals, companies or funds, who were then subsequently entitled to a proportionate part of the player’s future transfer fee. The system was eventually banned by world football governing body Fifa in May 2015.