Brazil's Vasco da Gama and 777 Partners in legal battle for control of soccer club

Tue, May 21, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Brazil's Vasco da Gama and 777 Partners in legal battle for control of soccer club

SAO PAULO (AP) - Brazil's Vasco da Gama and embattled investment group 777 Partners are intensifying their legal battle after the American company went to court Tuesday to reclaim its rights over the top-flight soccer club.

Last week, a Rio de Janeiro judge preemptively removed 777 Partners from Vasco's soccer department's administration after a series of complaints from the club. Brazilian law allows foreign entities to buy the rights to soccer sections of multi-sport clubs, in an operation known as SAF.

The preliminary ruling is yet to be confirmed, but the American group stepped up the fight in court and accused the club of not making image rights payments to its players on Monday, as scheduled.

"It was the first time that wages or image rights payments have been delayed since we took over 18 months ago," 777 said in a statement Tuesday. "The injunction that momentarily pushes us out of the command of Vasco's SAF stopped us from making a bridge payment, as we did last year in the same period of the year, when soccer revenues are lower."

Image rights are part of the payment for footballers. Vasco executives have said the payment of wages is up to date for all players.

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The tug of war in Brazil adds to the pressure on the Miami-based company, which has recently faced setbacks in court over its ownership of Belgium's Standard Liège plus other financial problems.

A court in Liege last week ruled in favor of Standard's former owner Bruno Venanzi and shareholders of the company holding the club's stadium. They claimed 777 had defaulted on a payment.

The legal woes for the 777 add to its period of financial turmoil. The Miami-based investment company has also seen its airline in Australia grounded in recent weeks. It also faces a fraud lawsuit in New York.

777's other clubs include Genoa in Italy's top tier and Hertha Berlin in Germany's second division.

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