The website for football player exchange platform Football Index has gone back online after months of inactivity, allowing the operator’s customers to withdraw previously inaccessible funds.
BetIndex, Football Index’s parent company, had been involved in extensive deliberations with both its administrators Begbies Traynor and the High Court of England and Wales regarding the final date for the payout of dividends to the company’s customers.
The High Court ultimately decided on 8 June that 26 March 2021 – just under three weeks after Football Index customers began to abandon the firm following a decision to slash dividends from 14p to 3p per player – would be marked as the final cut off date for dividend payouts.
This afternoon, administrators sent an email to players detailing – “The process to withdraw funds has not changed. Please login to your Football Index Account via the website and go to the Account area, where you can select to withdraw funds.
“In accordance with the UK High Court order on the 8th June 2021, the date of 26th March 2021 has been agreed as the final date on which dividends will be payable. If an adjustment of dividends has been made this will appear in your transaction history.”
Football Index maintained a fund known as the ‘Trust Deed monies’, which contained a total of £4.5 million in preparation for a potential financial emergency, and as of June 2021 was being held by the Viscount of Jersey.
It had previously been estimated earlier this year that the operator’s customers were owed around £3.2 million, leaving BetIndex with a surplus of £1.8 million.
Begbies Traynor initiated customer hearings regarding the return of funds in May, two months after taking on the role as BetIndex’s insolvency practitioner in March after the onset of financial difficulties.
There has, however, been no confirmation as to when or if BetIndex will exit its state of administration, which began shortly after Football Index declared an end to trading operations.
The company had previously stated its intention to restructure and relaunch Football Index in time for the 2021/22 football season once the financial issues were addressed, although both its JGC and UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) licences have been revoked, whilst its membership of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) was also suspended in March.
In addition, although confirming that customers will be able to withdraw funds via the Football Index website, with the app currently unavailable, some customers had raised concerns last month regarding the ‘share portfolio’ aspect of the Football Index product.
In a statement, the UKGC acknowledged these concerns but stated that it would not be involved in the valuation of the share portfolio, which falls outside its regulatory remit, whilst also informing users that no such valuation had taken place.
Furthermore, although the issue of financial returns to customers appears to have been largely resolved, the fallout from the collapse of Football Index could continue to have repercussions for the betting industry as the UK government moves forward with its review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
The UKGC faced substantial criticism in the aftermath of Football Index’s demise, with some observers accusing the regulator of being ‘asleep at the wheel’.