How financiers feed on Europe's cash-strapped football clubs

By Michael Hajdenberg, Michel Henry, Yann Philippin

Football has become a new playing field for financial institutions preying on debt, as illustrated by documents from the whistle-blowing platform Football Leaks and analysed by the European journalistic consortium European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), in which Mediapart is a founding member. In one example, a British company called XXIII Capital had bought up 73 million dollars’ worth of debts resulting from transfers of players in England, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. These were then included in a financial product offered on Wall Street and subsequently on the stock exchange of the Caribbean tax haven of the Cayman Islands. Michael Hajdenberg, Michel Henry and Yann Philippin report.

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In the giddy world of modern football, a European club’s debts can end up for sale on the stock exchange of the Cayman Islands. The startling practices of financiers seeking new ways of profiting from  “the beautiful game” are illustrated by the case of French midfielder Gilbert Imbula.