BBC: 40% of Premier League clubs sponsored by suspicious financial service providers

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A BBC investigation has claimed that up to 40% of Premier League (PL) football clubs are associating with financial service providers that are placed under regulatory scrutiny. 

Some of the companies that have established financial relationships with the clubs have been fined in the past, are  banned, or are currently under investigation by authorities over unfair customer treatment, the investigation showed.  

Joe Inwood, a BBC journalist who participated in generating the findings, said: “These are companies that are offering complex financial instruments, the opportunity to speculate on the price of things like gold or bitcoin. 

“Often companies that do that are completely legitimate, if very risky. However, what we’ve identified are eight companies that have sponsored PL clubs over the last few years who were not just doing something risky but doing something downright scandalous – they were tricking customers and all of them were either banned by the authorities, heavily fined or are currently under investigation. 

“That really is quite a large number of Premier League clubs that have had financial connections to companies, which have subsequently turned out to be doing something wrong.”

While it is possible for the clubs to maintain the position that they’ve partnered with the flagged companies in a time when there were no evident instances of wrongdoings, Inwood argues that not enough is being done to research such partnerships in-depth. 

“They would say that the companies they’ve had interactions with are regulated. In general, these companies had regulations here in the UK. The football clubs say well, if they’re regulated, we can work with them. 

“But if you look at the details of what some of these companies are offering, there was one recently that was associated with Fulham that was offering 500% returns a year. 

“People can say well hang on a second, they may be officially regulated or not have been banned yet, but is that a reasonable claim to be making? Should a club really look a bit more in depth into the companies they are associating with? As far as our investigation found, quite often they seem not to be doing that.”

Inwood then went on to explain that in order to fix the issue, more conversations must be held. This seems to not be the generally accepted rhetoric however, with the BBC journalist referencing the Gambling Act Review White Paper, the topic of football club affiliation with gambling companies included in it, and the lack of any mentions about the potential promotion of scamming behaviour. 

“Therefore, their association with football clubs continues without really any control,” Inwood continued.

Titled ‘The Billion Dollar Scam’, the full investigation will launch this weekend across the whole BBC News network and the BBC iPlayer.