Doyen Group in for Espanyol PlayersBy: Mando | April 4th, 2012
Back in October I wrote a piece for La Liga Weekly that covered the Doyen Group, a British investment firm with ties to ex-Manchester United and Chelsea bigwig Peter Kenyon amongst others, and how they had come into agreement with several clubs in La Liga.
At the time there were numerous clubs in Spain playing without shirt sponsorship. It was reported that The Doyen Group had become one of the primary sponsors for not one, but three Spanish sides. First at Sporting de Gijón; their shirts were unveiled at EL Molinon before their match against FC Barcelona. The club were vague as to the association, what the terms of the deal were, even being dodgy with any contact information with publicity directors at The Doyen Group. It was an interesting but fruitless task to find information about the company until their logo appeared on an Atlético Madrid away kit against Granada.
On the Atléti website could be found this statement: ¨Atletico Madrid has signed a sponsorship agreement with Doyen Group. The new co-sponsor is an international investment group looking to invest in the Spanish market, and which aligns itself with interests in leisure, entertainment, natural resources and large hotel chains, amongst others.¨ They´ve even popped up on Getafe´s kit on the backside of the shorts. Getafe reported that the Doyen Group were interested in their young talent and, ¨asked for Abdel Barrada and two or three more canteranos, but for the moment, our commitment to them is limited to a sponsorship of 100,000 euros.¨ There is a slight whiff of Super-Agent Jorge Mendes in this, as he is involved with some of the players that have ties to this operation: Rubén Pérez of Getafe and Alberto Pereira of Atlético Madrid, but it isn´t very up-front. It´s a formula that is ¨legal in Portugal, Spain and Turkey¨, which is obviously in the Jorge Mendes axis, and one that Torres acknowledges is the coming phase in Spain if the crisis continues even if he is reticent at the moment in selling percentages of his young prospects. They also represent players in Brasil and Argentina and are working with Deportivo La Coruña in the second division with a similar deal in place.
Since then, as reported by El Pais, they have continued with ¨small sponsorship investments with the idea of buying part of the rights to up-and-coming players. The group’s plan was to invest in players under 24, who would not cost more than three million euros and could multiply its investment in the medium term.¨ It explains why 25 year old Javi Marquez fell out of favor in negotiations and why they are licking their chops at the wealth of talent in our cantera.
It seems like an obvious, above board operation, for cash-strapped teams in La Liga, but I can´t help but feel troubled by the mysterious associations and the lack of transparency. It is a troubling side-note for clubs in dire need of cash that they should sell shares of their assets, assets that can save them in the long run, for the quick-fix of short-term money for investors that have no connection to the club. I am grateful for the money, but I am concerned that they´ll plunder the squad. It is no coincidence that Atleti and Sporting have dropped their form from last year and I don´t want this to hinder our European aspirations in the short term and frankly our Primera Liga permanency in the long run.