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OFFSHORE FOOTBALL LEAGUE

THREE BILLION POUNDS IN THE UK’S OFFSHORE FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Manchester City tops the UK Offshore League. BY GEORGE TURNER, TAX JUSTICE NETWORK The Offshore Game has published the first edition of the Offshore Football League. The league ranks football clubs in the UK’s professional football leagues on an index based on the amount of finance they received from offshore and the secrecy of the finance they receive. In total the offshore league team found three billion pounds in loans and shares owned by companies based offshore in the UK’s professional leagues. This finance was found in 33 teams – 25 per cent of British professional football clubs. All levels of football were represented, from giants Manchester United to League 2 Shrewsbury Town, although clubs more heavily reliant on offshore finance tended to be in the English Championship and Premiership. The total finance figure breaks down into 1.1 billions pounds in debt and 1.8 billion pounds in equity. However, the equity figure is vastly dependent on three teams, Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City who between them have 1.5 billion pounds in equity held by offshore vehicles. Without these three teams the debt to equity ratio

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SPORT EXECUTIVE

is reversed to approximately 900 million pounds debt to 400 million pounds equity. Manchester United had the most offshore finance, accounting for third of the value of the league with just over one billion pound. That was made up of 882,922,000 pounds in shareholder funds at Red Football Limited, the largest company in their UK structure to present consolidated accounts. Red Football Limited is eventually owned by Manchester United PLC registered in the Cayman Islands. A further 171,497,000 pounds in debt was issued by their finance subsidiary MU Finance PLC. The loans come in the form of loan notes listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange NO BEACONS OF TRANSPARENCY However, not all offshore pounds are equal. To create the Offshore League the team also looked at the secrecy of offshore financial centres from where their money came from. To do this we used the Financial Secrecy Index developed by the Tax Justice Network. When we add secrecy it is Man U’s rivals Manchester City that top

the Offshore League. Manchester City has 445,770,264 pounds in finance coming from the United Arab Emirates. This is in the form of 435,262,000 pounds in equity owned by Abu Dhabi United Group Investment & Development Limited. A further 10,900,000 pounds has been loaned by Abu Dhabi United Group to Brookshaw Developments, one of Manchester City Football Club Limited’s subsidiary companies. The United Arab Emirates have a significantly higher secrecy score than both the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg - themselves no beacons of transparency. After Man City follows Bolton, Bournemouth and Spurs. Bolton and Spurs are owned by companies in Bermuda and the Bahamas. Bournemouth appears so far up the table because we were entirely unable to determine the jurisdiction where their parent company, AFCB Enterprises Limited was registered, never mind starting to assess its transparency. This article was first published in The Offshore Game in April 2015.

Sport Executive August 15  

Sport Executive er et gratis magasin på nettet om sport. Sport er den hurtigst voksende branche i dette årtusinde – såvel i Danmark som worl...

Sport Executive August 15  

Sport Executive er et gratis magasin på nettet om sport. Sport er den hurtigst voksende branche i dette årtusinde – såvel i Danmark som worl...

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