10 July 2023 - 3:45 PM


IMAGO | Stadio Olimpico, Rome, at sunset prior to a UEFA Europa League match between AS Roma and Real Betis.

A new player in club financing: "Clubs can't simply take the money and use it to buy players – that would go against the concept of growing revenue together”

  • SMRF Capital aims to provide funding to clubs with revenue growth ambitions. It operates as a hybrid between a bank loan provider and a private equity fund, but without taking ownership or interfering with football decisions.
  • Marcus Luer, a founding partner, expects to engage in a handful of deals in the football sector, targeting clubs with €100 million or more in revenues. "Avoiding relegation is the challenging part," he acknowledges.
  • Why it matters: The ownership landscape in European football is evolving with the influx of institutional money. This represents a new form of growth capital.
  • The perspective: For clubs hesitant to welcome new co-owners, this could serve as a potential solution. However, they must be prepared for the lender to hold strong opinions on commercial decisions.

Marcus Luer sought to introduce a different type of institutional funding to the sports industry, particularly within football. This initiative arose in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, which left many clubs struggling due to seasons without spectators and declining revenues across various sectors.

Luer recognised that private equity firms were also exploring options for individual club deals, departing from their previ

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