Nottingham Forest is one of the English clubs sponsored by the Football Index Photo: Julian Finney / Getty Images

Hundreds of Irish customers are believed to have lost money in the recent crash of the UK gambling website Football Index, which entered management Thursday night

A number of individual users are reported to have lost six-figure amounts over the past week, but many more have suffered significant losses on allegations by a company that had a loyal following after claiming to revolutionize the football betting market >

There has been camaraderie in some of the many messages posted on related social media sites since news of the company’s collapse broke out Users sent best wishes to one another as they began to realize that the remarkable story might come to an end. End Quite a few expressing concerns about the psychological wellbeing of the other “community” members who had lost money they had lost to each other could afford poorly

There was also a lot of anger, mostly aimed at owners who had repeatedly given assurances that the company was in good shape to the end

That seems to have become inevitable last Friday when an announcement that the company’s payouts were slashed by 90 percent was wiped out – an estimate of $ 67 million – of the value of existing bets than the market on Opening the next morning began an exodus of customers trying to sell their inventory, the platform tumbling for another five days before being suspended

There are now multiple calls for a corporate governance investigation and questions about the role of regulators in protecting customers. In the end, they only moved to revoke their gaming license after the company went into administration

The Football Index was launched in October 2015 and offered itself as an opportunity for “investors” to “buy” “shares” from footballers Faring Well, would go up as the company pays out “dividends” based on individuals’ performance in games as well as their media profiles. Many users seemed to view their bets as very long-term issues

Basically the idea was some sort of fictional footballer stock market with aspects of a fantasy league game but the stakes were very real The minimum deposit / withdrawal to / from an account was £ 10 but the amounts were in some cases a good six digits, and a user posted a picture on social media on Thursday evening pointing to a loss of around $ 150000 EUR in the past week indicates

The company stated 500Having 000 registered users, while others put the maximum at around a tenth of that, it built its own credibility through shirt and other sponsorship deals with clubs like QPR, Fulham and Nottingham Forest, as well as media partnerships with talk sports that feature paid content and celebrities Commentators on the game such as Guillem Balague and John Motson were provided endorsements

The company made money by doing “IPOs” of new players, “minting” existing ones, and receiving a commission for selling shares between existing users. Until about a year ago, it also offered an “instant sell” feature which like “Withdraw” on a standard betting website had the option of getting your money back from the company at a slight discount, which was considered fully worth

It was abolished at the beginning of the pandemic This was the first of many changes, some of which were initially beneficial to users The dividends were already increased dramatically in September, apparently to generate more trading and thus more commission

However, there has been ongoing talk of “liquidity issues” that could be addressed by expanding into large new markets such as Germany and Spain

This led to allegations by critics that the entire company was basically a Ponzi scheme that required new investor money to pay off previous donors, many of whom had a loyal customer base, many of whom had previously made significant profits and these had successfully redeemed but were reluctant to believe it

The company’s founding directors, Adam Cole, and his successor as managing director, Mike Bohan, made optimistic representations in response to certain inquiries Customers have said in recent months that the company “has never had a stronger financial position”

The fact that the company continued to sell new shares by players until last week appears to have reassured users of the platform as well, though it led to dismay and accusations of malicious intent on dividends that a stock’s potential return could generate Cut by more than 80 percent last Friday night thanks to the performance of a particular player By Thursday evening, the company admitted “significant losses” in a statement confirming it had gone into administration

An Irish customer, Mark McLaughlin from Belfast, who came to us in December 2018, estimates that he has been using his value between 5500 and 6000 pounds (6400 to 7000 euros) out of pocket. The stocks were initially reduced to almost nothing and were then frozen by the suspension of the platform

“I asked my brother if he would like to join in and I’m so grateful that he didn’t give everything that happened,” he says now. “He just said he didn’t like the sound, thought that he just sounded very dodgy and I can understand that ”

By the time he got on it, he felt that as someone who liked football and wanted to bet, the platform was “a really good thing to dip a toe into”

“And then you’ve just got into it, you know, it’s a very addicting platform There Are No Two Choices That Little Buzz You Get When you freshen up and watch your players go up and down. It’s like a slot machine based on soccer by all the big names ”

He then says, “I found it very difficult to watch football without having my investment in Football Index in front of me to see who [which player] is winning and who is losing”

He still admits he has great affection for the platform and remembers the heady days of making healthy profits with the likes of Paul Pogba

“That was the beginning,” he says, “then it just worked out fine for a while. I could buy a player for a pound and get him to £ 110 and sell him back to Football Index for £ 105 so that was it a 5p profit I’d just recycle, recycle, recycle It all felt very comfortable and safe, you could lose a little, you could gain a lot, but your money never really seemed to change Then fast forward

“It was everywhere if you were in the pub before Covid you would have run into someone who used it and you would chat about it after Covid met they decided to stop offering instant money and from then on.” You could feel the positive environment in the community and on the platform deteriorating. People asked, “How could they do that?”

McLaughlin says his overall loss isn’t that big from previously making withdrawals to fund vacation and the like, but had to speak to close family members and his employer for the past week, he says my head is probably right now something falls off because something happened to me “Everyone was very understanding and encouraged others who have suffered losses to speak about it

John Nellis from Newcastle, Co Down, who now lives in Cork, suddenly had around 20Invested $ 000 and hosted a football index podcast (just one of many in the home industry of media commentary that built up) Keep the community informed of issues related to the platform for about 18 months

When disillusioned with the company’s behavior and the time it was taking in the discussions he hosted, he began selling his shares and recently canceled the podcast He estimates his losses will be around 700 that week Euro, but says that it is comfortably ahead in the long term

“I canceled the podcast,” he says, “because I was tired of talking about announcements rather than football, which I wanted to talk about. They changed payouts and different types of dividends very regularly

“I think a lot of people could stand having a bad bet, but the problem was that for the past six to eight months it became a game of contest on the company itself, its decision and announcements I think their T&Cs are likely pinned down, but is it unethical how they approached things? Absolutely ”


When asked if he thinks Football Index was really a Ponzi scheme, Nellis says he’s no expert on definitions, but admits that many people have been badly burned by the company

“I look back now and thank goodness I’ve always encouraged diversification to other platforms” Buy some whiskey, buy old wine, put some money in an ISA, don’t put all your eggs in one basket”But there was this kind of narrative within the community that diversification bought Jadon Sancho and also Harry Kane”

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Source: https://www.irishtimes.com/sport/soccer/clients-left-to-count-the-cost-following-collapse-of-football-index-1.4509042