Chinese Billionaire Looks to Get Stake in Atletico Amidst FIFA Ban Conflict

Wang Jianlin is buying Atletico

Atletico may get to build casino complex in Spain if Chinese billionaire invests in club.

Chinese billionaire, Wang Jianlin, is set to buy the Atletico club in Madrid. Well not all of it, just 20%. Normally, European football clubs are rather expensive to maintain. Rivals such as Real Madrid and Barcelona are high-maintenance guys but somehow Atletico Madrid isn’t.

• Sky Blues loses $22 billion in 2014
• FIFA and UEFA differ over 3rd party ownership
• Wang might invest in several European clubs

Real Madrid and Barcelona have been spending so much that the European ruling body, UEFA, had to instill some regulations to curve the European clubs’ spendthrift palates, to limit losses incurred yearly.

Stake in 20% of Atletico worth $3.4 billion

Atletico Madrid seems to know all about staying within a budget, spending only a quarter of what Real Madrid and Barcelona spent, last year. Despite spending less, they were able to achieve more. They made it to the top of the football league matches in 2014, to the delight of quite a few mobile betting football fans happy.

Wang Spanish Prime Minister

Wang, who is the chairman and founder of Dalian Wanda Group, held meetings with Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish Prime Minister, to talk about the $3.4 billion input into the gutsy club. This may come in handy as Atletico would like to see its properties on the outskirts of Madrid develop.

Wang, who has stakes of over $24.9 billion hinted that Atletico might not only be the one on his shopping list. He may purchase other football clubs and it was speculated that in the past, he had a bid out on Southampton, the English Premier League soccer club.

But while Wang is busy hunting up football clubs to buy, FIFA, The Zurich-based world ruling body, wants to prohibit clubs from selling the transfer rights of contracted players to investors. However the UEFA is not in agreement.

Ban on third-party ownership by FIFA irks UEFA

The ban on ‘third-party ownership’ will be implemented as of May 1, 2015. Things came to a head when the UEFA and the English Premier League complained that third-party ownership deals were compromising ‘the integrity of soccer because investors could interfere with player’.

UEFA Atletico

In 2008, the Premier League forbade West Ham to give striker Carlos Tevez over to British Virgin Islands –based investors. However, Javier Tebas, the league’s president fired back that it was unfair to change the European Union rule concerning free movement of players from club to club.

Atletico Madrid and other European soccer clubs have been using this very kind of arrangement for the past 7 years. Millions of dollars have been raised for transfers and player wages after banks cut down on the clubs’ overdraft facilities.

Atletico wants make money elsewhere too. Maybe build a casino or two just outside of Madrid.
Atletico set eyes on the project when Sheldon Adelson, an American anti-online gambling billionaire, ditched the $30 billion plan 2 years ago. Sheldon, a gambling industry mogul was unable to negotiate suitable tax rates under Spanish gambling laws, with the Spanish government, among other things.

Meanwhile the FIFA ban is considered as too ‘restrictive’ by managing partner of the sports and entertainment team at Madrid-based law firm, Garrigues, Felix Plaza. He argued that to ban clubs securing credit from banks in exchange for player transfer fees owed to them, which is common practice in Spain and other European countries…goes against the free movement of capital”

Miguel Angel Gil, Atletico Madrid’s CEO, backed Plaza’s inclination by adding that, thanks to club transfers, his club was able to compete more effectively against the world’s wealthier clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona.

FIFA, by banning third-party ownership is accused of being unreasonable and may be breaking regulations in the region. This could lead to additional financial problems for football clubs.

While the wrangling goes on, Wang is looking to find somewhere to put his money. He’s looking for clubs not players. If he goes over to England, he may be able to get some advice from Sheikh Mansour, who invested more than $1 billion pounds in Manchester City.

By the way, Sky Blues has lost over $22 billion in 2014 alone. Another mighty mogul Wang might want to touch base with is, to weigh possible financial loss if he invests is, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich. His club lost $ 2 billion in investments over an 11 year period.

Given the huge losses incurred in football club investments and FIFA’s eminent ban complicating matters, perhaps Wang should consider getting a visa and high roll his way over to one of Macau’s thirty first-class casinos. He may just have better luck rolling a dice.

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