The man chosen to be the next PFA CEO has been involved in an investment product that targets players and offers no legal protection if those who pay for it lose their money.
Maheta Molango was selected as Gordon Taylor’s successor two weeks ago, but it has hardly been a smooth process, and the decision has raised objections from the unsuccessful candidates and the Professional Footballers’ Association hiring lawyers to monitor their recruitment process.
Now Sportsmail may reveal that Molango is one of a four-man ‘management team’ behind an investment vehicle, 46th Minute, that aims to raise £ 128 million to buy clubs in financial trouble. The 18-page prospectus states that “athletes” are ideal investors – “uniquely positioned to use their capabilities, reach, and wealth.”
Upcoming PFA chief Maheta Molango faces a storm after being involved in risky investment plan targeting players
The product is legal but not regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or an equivalent overseas body and therefore would not provide protection or remedies through the Financial Ombudsman should it fail.
The PFA has had a disastrous recent history of involvement in advising their members on investments. They were charged with a conflict of interest last year when it emerged that the founder of a ‘wealth management company’ with which the union was working was a trustee of the union’s charity.
Numerous players have gone bankrupt due to poor investment advice in planning their futures outside of football.
Molango told Sportsmail that 46th Minute was not registered with an investment industry regulator because “ it’s just a project at the moment, nothing else. ”
There is no legal protection for data subjects who lose their money in the 46th minute vehicle
When asked if any football players were registered, he said: “No, because it is a project that is at least still on paper.”
The prospectus of the investment vehicle states that there are already stars who are interested.
Under the heading ‘Our Elite Athletes Network’ it states that 16 people who ‘played or played’ in the ‘top three football / basketball leagues’ are among the members, as well as 22 who’ played for their national teams’ and two who ‘raced in Formula 1 ‘.
But another management team of the plan, US businessman Jason Gardner, who has invested in Swansea City and co-owns Danish club FC Helsingor, said these stars were not paid investors. He told Sportsmail: ‘We had conversations with those guys. They said, ‘We like the idea. When it becomes reality, we would like to be part of it ”. ‘
Financial analysts, who have studied the Sportsmail proposal, say the stardust associated with athletes’ involvement could make the product more attractive to private equity investors at a time when there are many ailing clubs looking to take on debt for their cash flow. to fund. .
Malongo said the plan was ‘just a project’ at this point and no players were signed up
A leading London tax and investment firm said: “There are not many details about the expected returns.”
A Northwest-based company said: “There are no disclaimers and warnings about the risks involved. The big risk is implementation. What if the club you invest in is not promoted? Asked if he would drop any future involvement with 46th Minute if his appointment as PFA chief executive is confirmed by the union’s management committee, Molango said, “ First I need to be formally appointed as CEO of the PFA, which still isn’t has happened.
‘I am still very much a candidate and when this is done I will decide what to do with the different things I was involved in.’
Molango declined to speak officially about the position of CEO of PFA before his nomination was approved. A PFA member expressed concern about Molango’s involvement in an unregulated product.
The PFA, currently headed by Gordon Taylor, has a poor track record of advising players
He said, “Given the player bankruptcy statistics and the challenges faced by unscrupulous agents and financial advisers, that’s a matter of concern.”
The document contains initial plans to raise between € 100 million and € 150 million in the second half of 2020, finalizing the acquisition of a ‘first’ club in the first quarter of this year and plans to raise in the second half of the year. half ‘to continue building the portfolio’. from this year.
The goal is to buy a La Liga club, then a Bundesliga side, followed by a Serie A.
Molango and Gardner’s partners in the venture are Spanish financier Luis Garcia, who oversees the investment fund with interests in Lyon, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund, and Spanish Olympic hockey player who became marketing manager Rodrigo Garza.
Malongo’s nomination was controversial, with PFA candidates complaining about the selection process
The caliber of that quartet underscores how far Molango, 38, has come since his days as a journeyman footballer in England, playing for Brighton, Lincoln, Oldham, Wrexham and Grays Athletic.
He graduated in law, joined the international law firm Baker McKenzie in Madrid, specializing in sports, and was CEO of Real Mallorca at the age of 33.
After three largely successful years in that role, he became co-director of the FIFA program to give executives a diploma in club management.