Talks about UEFA’s $8.2B COVID fund implies that the top clubs could reap the most benefits, what other options do European football clubs have?

By Vanessa Malone

UEFA, European football’s governing body, is creating a €7 billion ($8.2 billion) COVID relief fund to help bail out the football teams struggling to manage their debts from the global pandemic.¹

UEFA has reportedly been in talks for months with banks and private equity firms to build a fund that would enable clubs to access funds at lower borrowing rates and restructure existing debt.

Since the beginning of 2020, football clubs have been paying heavily for the loss of fan-filled stadiums and the revenue streams that surround them. The larger teams with the highest payrolls and costliest stadiums are sinking more and more into the red. Europe’s smaller clubs are suffering as well, as their income relies more on ticket sales than broadcast and TV rights revenue.

This is why there is a lot of concern over how the UEFA’s COVID relief funds could be distributed, and whether these funds would be more available to the richer teams. 

It’s clear that football clubs are scrambling to find alternative revenue sources. While the European football governing bodies have been turning to private equity funds for financial support, what if teams were to turn directly to their fans?

European football fans are a force to be reckoned with. An estimated 400 million people tune into UEFA’s Champions League, almost four times as many as the Super Bowl.²

European football fans are also incredibly passionate about keeping the spirit of ‘the game being for everyone’ alive, which was evident when fan’s uproar helped shut down the 12 richest clubs’ attempt at creating a separate football league called the European Super League earlier this year. Fans believed this new league would further increase the gap between the game’s richer and poorer clubs and reduce the ability for an underdog story.

We believe this movement highlights an incredible opportunity for teams, especially some of the smaller clubs, to add a new meaningful revenue stream while rallying fans together in support of their favorite teams.

The UEFA fund is taking outside investment from a private equity fund. LaLiga, another professional football league, announced that they’re selling almost 11% of broadcast and commercial income for 50 years to a private equity fund.³

What if teams instead, or simultaneously, offered fans the opportunity to invest and own a stake in their future revenue?

Here’s how:

Global Fan Exchange is Horizon’s next generation fan engagement platform that will give fans the opportunity to invest, drive awareness, and share in the success of athlete and celebrity ventures.

Upstream, a MERJ Exchange Market, and fully regulated stock exchange, takes this fan engagement to the next level and will give fans the opportunity to trade ownership shares amongst a global fan base from a user-friendly trading app.

This methodology could not only empower European football teams to generate their own revenue streams driven by their personal brands and loyal fan bases, but could give teams an incredible way to give back to fans who played a major role in their success.

Now more than ever, fans are seeking new ways to feel close to their favorite teams. GFX takes fan engagement to a new level with the opportunity to become a shareholder in the venture.

In exchange for letting fans own a percentage of their venture, fans have the chance to own a real equity stake alongside their favorite team and trade this ownership with other fans around the world all from a userfriendly trading app.

Imagine the trading activity after an amazing performance, or a game winning save. Additionally, teams would be able to communicate directly with their biggest supporters to offer historic memorabilia, exclusive content and unique engagement opportunities. 

How GFX and Upstream work with teams

1. Set your offering size

2. Create your branded shares

3. Launch offering to fans

4. Secondary trading for fans

We are on a mission to make GFX and Upstream the global hub for fan driven assets that fans can browse and participate in.

Interested parties can learn more at or, or reach the team at


1 Bloomberg


3 Irish Times


GFX is not a registered broker dealer and will not take commission based fees. Securities transactions are conducted through registered broker dealers in the United States and internationally on Upstream, which is a MERJ Exchange market. MERJ Exchange is a licensed Securities Exchange, an affiliate of the World Federation of Exchanges and full member of ANNA.

Upstream is a MERJ Exchange market. MERJ Exchange is a licensed Securities Exchange, an affiliate of the World Federation of Exchanges and full member of ANNA. MERJ supports global issuers of traditional and digital securities through the entire asset life cycle from issuance to trading, clearing, settlement and registry. It operates a fair and transparent marketplace in line with international best practice and principles of operations of financial markets. Upstream does not endorse or recommend any public or private securities bought or sold on its app. Upstream does not offer investment advice or recommendations of any kind. All services offered by Upstream are intended for self-directed clients who make their own investment decisions without aid or assistance from Upstream. Customers must comply with applicable law of their own jurisdiction. By accessing the site or app, you agreed to be bound by its terms of use and privacy policy. Company and security listings on Upstream are only suitable for investors who are familiar with and willing to accept the high risk associated with speculative investments, often in early and development stage companies. There can be no assurance the valuation of any particular company’s securities is accurate or in agreement with the market or industry comparative valuations. Investors must be able to afford market volatility and afford the loss of their investment. Companies listed on Upstream are subject to significant ongoing corporate obligations including, but not limited to disclosure, filings and notification requirements, as well compliance with applicable quantitative and qualitative listing standards.


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