Josh Wander of 777 Partners has been elected to the board of the European Clubs Associatio
One of the owners of an investment firm eyeing up a stake in Everton has elected to the board of the organisation that represents the interests of European football’s top professional clubs.
Josh Wander, co-founder of US firm 777 Partners, has joined the board of the European Clubs Association following the organisation’s elective general assembly in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday, where Wander was standing as a representative of of Belgian Pro League side Standard Liege, one of the numerous clubs in the Miami-based firm’s sports investment portfolio.
Wander was elected as the subdivision two representative for the influential ECA board, with his election coming at a time when 777 have reignited their interest in acquiring a stake in Everton following the collapse of the deal with New York-based firm MSP Sports Capital last month.
MSP had been expected to conclude a £150m deal for stadium financing, equity in the club and some operational control through seats on the Toffees board, but owing to a disagreement with an existing Everton lender, Rights and Media Funding Limited, who were reportedly unhappy with the value of the equity and having security on their loan diluted, the deal has since pivoted to a straight £100m loan for the next tranche of stadium financing, with MSP no longer pursuing a stake in the football club.
777, who already have majority positions with Standard Liege, Vasco da Gama, Red Star FC, Genoa and Hertha Berlin, held numerous talks with Everton owner Farhad Moshiri and his representatives earlier in the year before the decision was made to grant MSP a period of exclusivity. Now that MSP have exited the scene when it comes to taking a minority position in the club, 777, co-founded by Wander and Steven Pasko in 2015 and that also has sporting investments with the British Basketball League and its London Lions team, as well as a diversified portfolio away from sport that includes aviation, are understood to have resumed dialogue with the Everton owner and his representatives.
Wander, who declined to comment on the rumoured interest in Everton, a position that the company took when asked by the ECHO recently, told the Financial Times earlier this month of 777’s sporting investment strategy. saying: “We have a strong view that there’s a new wave of commercialisation coming to football. (Football clubs) have done a horrible job of commercialising the product.
“It’s so absurd to me that people say we’re not serious when we bought (stakes in) seven clubs in the last 18 months. Is there anyone in the world that’s been more serious about buying football clubs in history than Josh Wander?”
Wander also asserted that the “intensity” of fans’ engagement with their clubs meant “they want to be monetised.”
He added: “The vision for this football group is that one day we’re not selling hot dogs and beers to our customers; (it’s) that we’re selling insurance or financial services or whatever.”