Former Chelsea star Gianluca Vialli has co-founded a crowdfunding platform which allows supporters to invest in leading clubs.
Tifosy, described as the world’s first and only fully licensed sports crowdfunding platform, connects clubs with a global community of fans and investors.
It will give supporters the chance to buy shares in their favourite clubs or invest in club mini-bonds, providing them with cash interest or club credit.
“Clubs and fans working together for a common goal can make a real difference to the game we love,” said Vialli.
“I believe Tifosy takes fan engagement to a new level. This is the beginning of a new era, a sports revolution, and I am proud to support it.”
Tifosy has already worked with more than 15 clubs in England and Italy, running rewards-based campaigns to fund training ground and stadium improvements and similar projects.
It is now launching much more ambitious financial campaigns, giving fans greater involvement in their clubs and a return on their investment.
It will give clubs access to untapped capital by unleashing the passion of their global fan base – 30 of the world’s leading clubs, together, have more than 1 billion social followers, and some clubs can count more than 1,000 times their stadium capacity in online supporter numbers.
Tifosy’s platform is regulated through the Financial Conduct Authority. Last month it completed English football’s first mini-bond, raising £600,000 in just six weeks for League Two club Stevenage to build a new North Stand.
Two hundred and forty fans invested between £500 and £25,000, choosing either four per cent cash interest or eight per cent club credit interest per annum and receiving unique club-related privileges.
It has also worked with Portsmouth, Fulham and Bradford City.
The FinTech firm can now sell equity and debt on behalf of clubs and is this week scaling up by launching its own £1m equity raise, issuing 4000 shares in the company, which has a pre-money valuation of £9.2m.
For a minimum £1,000, investors can buy into the company, which was co-founded by European Cup winner Vialli and CEO Fausto Zanetton, a former investment banker who spent more than 15 years as a sports, media and tech specialist at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
Zanetton said: “Fans are the greatest asset of any club and our mission is to enable everyone to invest in the clubs they believe in, in a fair and transparent manner.
“Whilst there is an incredible passion and willingness to invest in sports, there is currently no way to do so for the average fan or investor.
“Fanfunding transforms the way fans can interact with their clubs. You no longer need to be a billionaire to invest in professional sports clubs.
“We are unleashing the passion of fans and these billions of global fans represent an enormous and untapped investor base.
“We believe this pivotal moment in Tifosy’s short history is an excellent opportunity to bring on board the first wave of our very own Fanfunders, passionate advocates who will help change the sports industry for the better”.