The only downside was that the deal could not be committed to paper because of its clash with Fifa rules. He said: “We cannot 100 per cent guarantee these things but we can just tell you by phone or by us that we are open that every euro that comes in from a transfer afterwards that it can go out to whoever you choose on the way that we choose on that day, on that moment. But we can’t put that on paper.”
Jimmy Houtput, the chairman of Oud-Heverlee Leuven (OHL), said that the club would be willing to pose as the owner of footballers whose economic rights would actually be held by the fake company.
In September 2016, OH Leuven were caught up in an ongoing scandal affecting football in England. In relation to allegations made against individuals within English football, OH Leuven chairman Jimmy Houtpout is alleged to have offered up the club as a "conduit" to allow third-party companies to gain ownership of football players in England. Houtpout resigned as OH Leuven chairman on 30 September.
The club’s representatives appeared interested in the proposal but expressed concern about the rules it could breach. In later correspondence, there was discussion of the firm becoming a shareholder in the club to get around TPO rules.
Allardyce’s separate suggestions to undercover reporters included using Belgium as a conduit to get non-European players into English clubs.
However, in a call with an undercover reporter on Aug 26, Mr Houtput laid out the terms of a deal that would enable the fictitious company to finance the purchase of players and then receive 90 per cent of their subsequent sell-on fees.
Mr Houtput believed OHL, a second division club, would benefit from additional talent on its team without extra financial cost, even if only temporarily.
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It comes after Sam Allardyce, the England manager, lost his job after The Daily Telegraph revealed how he had advised undercover reporters purporting to be from the same fictitious company how to get around TPO rules.
Fifa – football’s governing body – introduced rules banning firms from owning a stake in a player in 2015.
Mr Pagliara said that he introduced the fictitious company to the club “for the specific purpose of a joint venture” and it was only at the meeting that he realised “regulations had changed and third-party ownership was no longer an option”.
Such players could then be “transferred to the club you want for the price you want”, he told the reporter. The proposal came after a meeting in Belgium between the reporter and senior representatives of the club.
The ban was intended to eliminate a practice described by senior football figures as “slavery”, and to prevent third parties from influencing decisions about transfers, which Fifa believes should be made solely by clubs.
Green denotes the highest level of football in Belgium; yellow the second highest; red the third highest.
For details on former players, see Category:Oud-Heverlee Leuven players.
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However, Mr Houtput said that this scenario could breach separate rules banning companies that carry out football agent activities from becoming club shareholders.
He said it was “easier for the Belgians to bring them over” because of more relaxed rules about non-EU nationals working in the country.
Massimo Cellino, the Leeds owner, separately also offered a workaround to the reporters, although he has insisted that the proposal was above board.
The meeting was initiated by Pino Pagliara, an agent previously banned from the sport for match-fixing. He believed he was working as a consultant to the fictitious Far East firm and had proposed the idea before suggesting the Belgian club as a possible partner.
The club would also receive a cut of the sell-on fees to cover any costs it incurred, as well as “for the good work that we did”.
The next day, Mr Houtput emailed the reporter with his telephone number – he had found another solution. He explained that the money for the purchase of players could be provided by the company through a “sponsorship agreement”.
Event details: NAME: Oud-Heverlee Leuven Reserve - KAA Gent Reserve DATE: May 9, 2016 TIME: 17:30 UTC VENUE: Den Dreef Stadium, Heverlee , Belgium
On Thursday Mr Houtput said he and his colleagues had understood that the company had an unknown investor behind it and “was looking for a Belgian club and wanted to take over the majority of the shares” and they were “interested in the name of the potential investor and his intention”.
Mr Pagliara informed the club that the company wanted its players to be registered at Leuven but loaned to English clubs.
Their stadium is called Stadion Den Dreef and is situated on Kardinaal Mercierlaan in the south Leuven suburb of Heverlee (not to be confused with 'Oud-Heverlee' in the club name, which is in fact a separate municipality). The entrance for visiting fans is on Tervuursevest.
Oud-Heverlee Leuven (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈʌut ˈɦeː.vər.ˌleː ˈløː.və(n)]), also called OH Leuven or OHL, is a Belgian football club from the city of Leuven. It results from the 2002 fusion between F.C. Zwarte Duivels Oud-Heverlee, which registration number it inherited, Daring Club Leuven and Stade Leuven. The home ground of OH Leuven is stadium "Den Dreef", located in Heverlee.
The disclosure is likely to heighten concerns that third-party ownership (TPO) remains in world football despite the FA prohibiting the practice six years ago, and a subsequent global ban implemented by Fifa last year.
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Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
He added: “As a professional club we are strongly regulated with a decent corporate governance where all corporate and football rules are followed. We will never break the TPO rules.”
More details: Oud-Heverlee Leuven Reserve live score, schedule and results KAA Gent Reserve live score, schedule and results
The club currently plays in the country's second level, Belgian First Division B. They had played in the top level, then known as the Belgian Pro League and now as Belgian First Division A, in the 2015–16 season, but were relegated to First Division B after a last-place finish.
The club could then take 10 per cent of any subsequent sell-on fees from those players and arrange for the remainder to be paid to the company.
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A Belgian football club offered itself as a conduit to help a fictitious investment firm own players in England, in an apparent breach of Fifa rules banning the practice of third-party ownership.
Fifa rules ban clubs from entering an agreement entitling a company to part or full “compensation payable in relation to the future transfer of a player from one club to another”.
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