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Fri 23 Jan 2009 12:12 PM

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Premier League bans Emirates NBD fund

League tells all 20 clubs to steer clear of investment fund operated by Dubai bank.

The English Premier League has told all 20 clubs they risk breaking rules if they sign players connected to an investment fund launched by Dubai-based bank Emirates NBD.

The Hero Global Football Fund, which has been backed by Alan Hansen and former Football Association executive director David Davies, has been banned by league chiefs.

The fund, which is planning to raise $100 million, was set up by Emirates Investment Services Ltd, a subsidiary company of Emirates NBD, and plans to have a life of five years.

It aims to recruit young players from Africa, South America and the Far East and sell their registrations and image rights to the clubs.

Investors would also make a profit from transfer fees when those players were sold.

But the Premier League - one of the major targets for the fund - has studied the details of how a deal would work and have concluded clubs would be breaking the third-party rules that were tightened up following the Carlos Tevez saga at West Ham United.

A spokesman said on the official Premier League website: "We have been in contact with the Hero Fund to ascertain the nature of their business model and concluded from the information provided that this would be in breach of Rules L.34 and L.35 concerning third-party investment.

"As such we have written to all our member clubs to draw this matter to their attention. We have also made FIFA aware of our current position."

Arabian Business contacted Emirates NBD but their communications team was not immediately available for comment.

At the time of the Fund launch in Nov, Rick Pudner, CEO of Emirates NBD, said: “Middle East investors are seeing the value of the sports industry, in general and the football sector in particular, and we’re excited to build on that.”

The minimum individual investment into the fund will be $100,000.

The fund targets a minimum internal rate of return (IRR) of 10 percent, although returns are likely to fluctuate.

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