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Nélio Lucas, CEO of Doyen Sports, was one of the panelists during today’s debate on TPO/TPI (Third-party ownership/Third- party investment) in football held by the “Sports Intergroup” of the European Parliament.
Other panelists included representatives from UEFA, FIFA, EPFL (European Professional Football Leagues), ECA (European Clubs Association) and FIFPro, as well as Javier Tebas, President of the Spanish Liga de Futbol Profesional and Daniel Lorenz, Head of International Relations at FC Porto.
During his intervention, Mr. Lucas defended the extinction of TPO: “the very idea of investors owning another human being is ludicrous, we abolished that idea hundreds of years ago. TPO must be exterminated from the game outright”.
Doyen Sports’ model, known as TPI, is a viable alternative source of finance much needed by the large majority of football clubs in Europe. Up to 80% have no liquidity to face the growing pressures of competition and the dominance of an oligarchy of rich teams.
Georg Pangl, General Secretary of the EPFL (European Professional Football Leagues, Secretary General of EPFL, as well as Wouter Lambrecht, Head of Legal Affairs at ECA, both detailed the benefits TPI can have for football, as well as the need to regulate the sector, as opposed to banning it.
The TPI model was recently validated by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The decision in the case won by Doyen Sports over the transfer of Marcos Rojo totally rejected all claims made by the Portuguese club Sporting, as well as those presented during the hearing by institutions such FIFPro and UEFA to defend the ban on TPI.
In Doyen Sports’ model, as the CAS also concluded, the club’s independance is entirely guaranteed, thanks to exit clauses which allow them to, for example, reject transfer offers. The player’s independance is not even questioned, as they are never a part of the contract.
Mr. Lucas finished his speech by calling on the European Parliament to take on the responsability of regulating TPI activity: “a democratically elected body representing millions of Europeans is the only instance that can produce decisions affecting thousands of clubs and millions of fans all over the continent. Clubs need to see their freedom to choose sources of finance and investment preserved, and this cannot be left to private organisations with questionable ethical reputations and no democratic legitimacy such as FIFA”.