Leigh Day investigates potential legal claims relating to Football Index
Leigh Day is working alongside Clean Up Gambling to investigate potential legal claims on behalf of individuals who invested in Football Index.
Posted on 16 March 2021
Law firm Leigh Day has confirmed that it is working alongside the campaign group Clean Up Gambling to investigate potential legal claims on behalf of individuals who invested in the football trading scheme Football Index which has entered administration.
The Jersey-based company billed itself as a ‘football stock market’. Football Index is the trading name of BetIndex, a Jersey-based gambling operator, owned by Index Labs, a UK registered company. Both the UK Gambling Commission and the Jersey Gambling Commission have suspended BetIndex’s licence.
‘Punters’ as Football Index called them, bought and sold what it termed ‘shares’ in professional footballers. Those who paid their money were promised dividend payments depending on the players' performance and their value during the season.
However, last week a message on the Football Index website read: “after a difficult and challenging week” for its users, a decision had been taken “to suspend the platform”.
Now lawyers at Leigh Day are investigating whether there are grounds to take legal action against the platform and its creators, on behalf of the many thousands of people who lost money. According to Leigh Day partner Nichola Marshall, the role of the Gambling Commission will also come under scrutiny.
Ms Marshall said:
“Whilst it is very early days in our investigations on behalf of the thousands of people who have lost money, there are serious questions which will need answering regarding what has happened at Football Index and what the Gambling Commission understood of Football Index’s activities.”
The suspension of the platform came after Football Index announced much lower dividends were to be introduced in April 2021, effectively changing the terms and conditions of the product overnight, devaluing the original bet and causing the resulting crash which has led some commentators to compare it to a Ponzi type scheme.
Matt Zarb-Cousin of the Clean up gambling campaign said:
“Football Index ended up in a situation where they needed new customers to honour the dividend payments to existing users. And because value of the ‘shares’ in the footballers traded on the platform was driven by their dividend yield, reducing the dividends caused the market the crash
"It was a business run in an entirely unsustainable way, which people do not expect of a licensed operator in a regulated sector. The Gambling Commission has been asleep at the wheel. Football Index executives are even on record in podcasts saying the Gambling Commission did not fully understand its product or business model.”
Those affected are now being encouraged to follow the FI Group Action Twitter feed for updates and register their interest in a potential legal action with Leigh Day.