Some former football stars face bankruptcy and ruin, and could potentially lose an estimated £100 million because they were "mis-sold" investments in film schemes and property ventures, according to the Sunday Times. The likes of former England and Manchester United players Rio Ferdinand and Andy Cole; past Arsenal stars Martin Keown and Kevin Campbell; and former players and current pundits Danny Murphy and Robbie Savage, are among more than 100 footballers that have invested in loss-making schemes via Kingsbridge Asset Management.
The film schemes sold by the firm involved footballers investing money, which was then supplemented several times over with huge loans from banks. These investments then generated tax rebates for the players, with some of the money being re-invested in property ventures that subsequently failed.
Kingsbridge Asset Management's directors, David McKee and Kevin McMenamin, have allegedly earned around £5m in commission from the investments which have failed or resulted in the players' receiving tax demands from HM Revenue & Customs.
Campbell, who is understood to be involved in bankruptcy proceedings, stands to lose around £7m after investing in five film schemes. He told the Sunday Times that he had been the victim of mis-selling and he said: "When I see the paperwork, it's horrendous. I am not one to be bitter, but £7m is a lot of money."
Meanwhile, Murphy said that he "felt angry" at what he described as mis-selling of the investment products, which is a sentiment echoed by Craig Short, the former Blackburn Rovers captain.
"These investments were for my children's future," Short said. "I reckon over 100 retired players have been hit by this. They feel duped, anger, humiliation, really. It's wrong, totally wrong."
Ferdinand has lost an estimated £2.3m on property investments in Spain and Florida, and was the biggest investor in film schemes. However, his advisers told the Sunday Times that the former player had "limited personal exposure" and is happy with his investments.
A spokesman for McKee and McMenamin issued a rebuke to the accusations that they mis-sold investments, they said that "without exception" all the firm's clients were always advised of the suitability and risks of the schemes and that they needed to be part of a balanced portfolio.