football pitch ball

Nélio Lucas, CEO of Doyen Sports, an investment firm based in Malta with significant ties to the football and wider sports worlds and linked to some of the biggest names in the industry, is the protagonist of a new series due to premiere later this month about the revelations that shook the football world between 2015 and 2019 features as its protagonist

Football Leaks, launched in 2015, exposed the often opaque financial transactions underpinning the world of football. It revealed confidential information about the transfers of top players like Radamel Falcao, Gareth Bale, and Neymar, the earnings of global superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo, and the tax tricks they use to maximise them, and the sometimes murky ownership deals of footballers’ rights between football clubs and third parties like Doyen Sports.

The third-party agreements between the Malta-based investment firm and Dutch club FC Twente led to the club’s suspension from European football for three years.

Doyen Sports also managed the images of top athletes and former athletes like David Beckham, Usain Bolt, and Boris Becker.

Its funding has been subject to speculation, backed as it is by a secretive Kazakh family with ties to Donald Trump and Turkish autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Despite initial impressions that Mr Pinto was mainly interested in uncovering secrets for the sake of transparency, further investigation dug up payments to a Cayman Islands bank account registered in his name, throwing doubt over the true intentions behind the leaks.

Doyen Sports has no doubt about the intentions, with Mr Pinto accused of blackmailing and extorting the company.

A Game of Secrets is slated for release later this month, and promises to be a riveting look into the murky underbelly of football – and Malta’s role in all of it.

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