UEFA issues warning about the risks of timeshare ownership

GENEVA.- More than 300 clubs soccer They are part of ownership groups that have several teams, a trend led by American investors and that could threaten the integrity of European football, the organization said Thursday. UEFA.

UEFA detailed the growing popularity of “timeshare” — with investors, not fans — in its annual analysis of the European soccer economy that it estimated generated 26 billion euros ($27.9 billion) in profits for clubs in 2023.

The timeshare groups led to “an increase in the risk of two clubs with the same owners or investors facing each other in competition, creating a possible integrity risk in Europe,” the research director of UEFA, Andrea Traverso.

The report was published when two teams, of the 13 controlled by the Abu Dhabi investor network – Manchester City and Girona – are second in the standings in the Premier League and the Spanish League, respectively. Both could qualify for the next Champions League.

UEFA already applied the competition entry rules it published 25 years ago against two American timeshare groups and one British one, before this season in Europe.

“Timeshare investments have been driven by investors in the United States, with 44 multi-club investment groups originating in that country,” UEFA said.

UEFA stated that in 2012 fewer than 40 clubs worldwide belonged to a timeshare group. It has now identified 105 top-flight clubs in Europe with “cross-investment relationships” with at least one other club. There are 112 other European lower division teams involved.

Among the American owners are RedBird, whose largest club is AC Milan; Eagle Football with Lyon; and 777 Partners, which in its attempt to control Everton has intensified scrutiny of its legal problems with its companies in the United States.

RedBird and V Sports, owner of Aston Villa, were investigated by a UEFA panel last year, Milan and Tolosa of France, as well as Villa and Vitória Guimarães qualified for European competitions.

UEFA determined that timeshare “decisively influenced” both clubs.

UEFA maintains a certain silence:

Asked last week whether there would be another investigation into City and Girona’s relationship, UEFA general secretary Theodore Theodoridis said it was not yet appropriate to comment.

On Thursday, UEFA acknowledged that the timeshare trend “is a significant change from the traditional ownership structure and has implications that go beyond the interconnected relationship between clubs, sponsors and fans.”