Football Index is looking for buyers amid widespread customer rage
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Oakvale Capital understood as a leader in searching for investments for the self-proclaimed "football exchange"
First posted on Tuesday 25 Mar 2021 16.25 GMT
The Football Index, a sports gaming platform, is looking for a buyer after a spectacular crash fueled by calls from MPs for an investigation and could lead to legal action by customers who fear losing their money.
The Guardian understands that Oakvale Capital, a gambling financial advisory group, is looking for new investments in its self-proclaimed "soccer market".
To the rescue, a court hearing in Jersey is scheduled to take place this Thursday, which will begin the administratio n trial.
The Football Index executives hope they can revive it under new ownership, despite the widespread outrage among the customer base, the tightly knit "trader" community.
The company's rapid implosion is already having serious political, financial and potentially legal implications.
Whitehall sources said new gambling minister John Whittingdale had "frank" talks with the Gambling Commission, which does not have a permanent leader after its CEO's unexpected immediate resignation this week.
A cross-party group of MPs also wrote to Oliver Dowden, the minister of culture, demanding an investigation into how the company was
Leigh Day said it is investigating the possibility of taking legal action on behalf of all clients who have lost money.
Leigh Day partner Nichola Marshall said: "While these are very early days in our investigations on behalf of thousands of people who have lost money, there are serious questions that will need to be answered as to what happened in the Football Index and what the Gambling Commission understood about the Football Index.
The commission suspended the Football Index license last week after it announced plans to cut its "dividends", payments made to people who own and trade players' shares through the platform.
It is unclear whether investors will get back the money they invested.
A Football Index spokesman said: "Our priority is to protect the interests of our customers and seek the best outcomes for our community with the aim of continuing the platform in a restructured form." Oakvale Capital did not ask for comment.
The Football Index crash couldn't have come at a worse time for the Gambling Commission, which on Monday announced the sudden departure of CEO Neil McArthur for unrelated reasons.
In addition to the immediate difficulties highlighted by the Football Index, the committee grapples with many complex and potentially controversial issues.
It is under review whether or not gambling companies should impose stringent accessibility checks to prevent much loss to players, a measure that could meet considerable opposition from the industry.
A government gambling review is also ongoing, led by Whittingdale, while the Commission is also overseeing a fourth bidding process for running a national lottery license.
The collapse has also proved embarrassing for the gambling industry, which is under specific control due to a government review.
Michael Dugher, CEO of the industry lobbying group Betting & Gaming Council (BGC), welcomed the earlier collaboration between Nottingham Forest, the team he supports, and the soccer index.
A BGC spokesman said: “Football Index became a member of the Betting and Gaming Council in July 2127, but their membership was immediately suspended after their licenses were suspended by the Gambling Commission.