Football Index: What has happened to online betting company and what has the fallout been?

QPR striker Charlie Austin, wearing the club's 2020-21 home shirt with the Football Index company name and logo in red on the white and blue hoops
QPR dropped Football Index as their shirt sponsor after the company went into administration

Football Index, an online betting company that bills itself as a “stock market” for football, has entered administration and had its gambling licences suspended.

Betting has been suspended and customers are unable to make deposits or withdrawals.

Championship side QPR have said they will no longer carry the Football Index logo on the front of their home and away shirts.

BBC Sport looks at what has happened and what the reaction has been.

What is Football Index?

Football Index launched in 2015 and allows users to buy what it calls “shares” in professional footballers and pays “dividends” according to their performances.

If a player performs well, their transfer value goes up or they sign for a bigger club, their “share price” goes up.

The aim for users is to identify rising stars, buying shares in them while still relatively cheap before selling at a profit after their value rises.

Football Index calls itself a “challenge to traditional bookmakers” and an alternative to the regular stock market which “can seem intimidating and inaccessible”.

What has happened?

On 5 March, Football Index announced a policy change which reduced the payouts on players, leading to a price crash. This followed other price crashes on the exchange earlier this year. external-link

On Thursday, parent company BetIndex Limited put out a statement,external-link announcing they had entered administration after appointing insolvency practitioners Begbies Traynor.

It said the aim was to find “the best outcome for customers with the goal of continuing the platform in a restructured form” and that all aspects of the platform will “remain suspended” until the administrators are in office.

The UK Gambling Commission and the Jersey Gambling Commission, where BetIndex is based, subsequently both suspended its licence.

What does it mean for users?

Users are unable to withdraw funds from their accounts and, if the business collapses, it could leave individual customers facing substantial losses.

BetIndex said it will hold users’ money in “a segregated account to be managed in conjunction with our advisors, protected by the trust arrangements that are in place”.

The UK Gambling Commission said it “expects” the company to “focus on treating consumers fairly and keeping them fully informed of any developments which impact them”.

The Jersey Gambling Commission reminded BetIndex it is still subject to its licence conditions “in particular customer funds that are under its duty to protect and return”.

What about the clubs it sponsors?

Football Index have been the shirt sponsor for Nottingham Forest since the 2019-20 season and signed a shirt sponsorship deal with QPR before the start of this season.

QPR announced on Friday that the Football Index name and logo will no longer appear on the front of their home and away shirts, effective from their next game against Huddersfield on Saturday.

“We entered into a one-year agreement with Football Index in good faith,” said QPR chief executive Lee Hoos.

“In light of recent events, the front property of QPR’s home and away strips will no longer sport the Football Index logo.”

Nottingham Forest, who host Reading on Saturday, are yet to release a statement on whether their shirts will still be sponsored by Football Index.

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