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Fri 12 Dec 2008 12:43 PM

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Investment fund says it will play to Premier League rules

But confusion surrounds role of $100mn Dubai-based football initiative in England.

Confusion surrounds whether a football investment fund set up by a Dubai bank will be allowed to make deals with the English Premier League, arguably the biggest in the world.

The Emirates NBD Hero Global Football Fund plans to invest up to $100 million in young, talented footballers around the world and then make money for investors by selling them to top clubs, in particular in Europe where transfer fees are highest.

On Wednesday, it was reported by media in the UK that the investment fund would fall foul of the Premier League's rules prohibiting third-party ownership of players.

But fund officials have now told Arabian Business that while they intend to operate within the rules they refused to rule out deals with the Premier League.

The league rules were introduced following a furore surrounding the Argentinian players Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez who were "owned" by unnamed investors when they signed for West Ham in 2006, Premier League clubs banned outright any third-party ownership of players' "economic rights".

A spokesman for the fund said: “It has always been the fund’s policy to operate within the rules and regulations of the relevant football associations, and they are very keen to make that fact absolutely clear."

Asked if that meant avoiding working with Premier League clubs altogether, he said the fund did not want to comment.

The Hero Global Football Fund was set up by a subsidiary of Emirates NBD and is seeking to attract $100 million of investments from wealthy individuals.

Launched in November with the backing of former football stars Alan Hanson and Glenn Hoddle, it is to make a profit by selling players’ registrations and other economic benefits, such as image rights, to professional clubs.

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