After the collapse of Football Index in March, many customers are wondering whether they will see their money again. This month, a court ruling has offered some hope for customers still out of pocket. Let’s take a look at the latest developments and explore when customers may realistically expect to be repaid.
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What happened with Football Index?
Founded in 2015, Football Index was a betting platform that tried to replicate a stock market. But, instead of stocks and shares, customers could buy and sell footballers. The key difference was that traders didn’t actually own part of a player.
Dubbing itself “the football stock market”, Football Index wanted to offer an alternative to traditional bookmakers as well as the stock market, which it felt was inaccessible. It had ambitions of genuinely becoming a football stock market and was even in talks with the Nasdaq stock exchange.
The betting platform went into administration in March. Customers lost almost £90 million as the company collapsed.
In the weeks before, customers saw the money they had stored in the Football Index reduce significantly as players’ ‘share prices’ decreased.
The Gambling Commission suspended the company’s betting licence and announced an investigation into its operations. Many described Football Index’s collapse as the biggest failure of a gambling business in British history.
The UK government also launched an inquiry. It is looking into the events and whether the Gambling Commission should have done more. Malcolm Sheehan QC is leading this investigation.
Additionally, the CEO of the gambling commission, Neil McArthur, resigned on 15 March.
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What are the latest Football Index developments?
The High Court of England and Wales set 26 March 2021 as the cut-off date for payment of Football Index dividends. This means that money held in player account funds can now be distributed. In addition, 26 March was the date that administration proceedings officially began.
This ruling was needed as the administrators, Begbies Traynor, said that open bets when the operator entered administration would still be accruing dividends, a form of winnings.
However, if these dividends were paid until the bets expired, the £4.5 million player protection account would have been in default by 22 April 2021. If this happened, no customers could receive all the money they would be owed.
The ruling means that customers can now get their money back.
Will I get my money back?
BetIndex, a Jersey-based company, owned and ran Football Index. As a result, the Viscount of Jersey now holds the funds.
Following the High Court’s decision, the Jersey Courts set 22 June 2021 as the date to recognise the High Court’s ruling on Football Index repaying its customers.
The Viscount of Jersey is expected to release the funds once the court ruling is recognised.
Approximately £3.5 million is due to be repaid by Football Index from its player protection account.
However, this ruling dealt only with funds held in player accounts. It is still unknown what will happen to money held in active bets.
BetIndex has designed a redress scheme through a Company Voluntary Arrangement to pay back customers who lost money in active bets. Through this, the betting company hopes to relaunch the platform with creditors receiving a 50% stake in the new business.
When will I get my money?
BetIndex predicts a five to eight working day wait from the date the Jersey court officially recognises the ruling before it moves funds from its player protection account into its payment provider’s account.
Once this has happened, customers will receive an email and the funds will appear in their Football Index accounts.
Customers will then be able to request a withdrawal, just like they did when the betting platform was active. Withdrawals typically take between two and ten working days.
With this in mind, customers can realistically expect to get their money back in the next three to four weeks.
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