Clyde Football Club are encouraging businesses to purchase a 50% stake in players, as they aim to work their way back up the Scottish league structure.
The Third Division side, who gave Steve Archibald, Pat Nevin and Craig Bryson their first start in the professional game, are asking companies to pay up to £5,000 towards the contracts of nominated players aged under 23.
The payment will cover the first year of a player’s two-year deal. In return, an investor will receive half of any initial transfer fee Clyde bring in from the sale of the player.
The scheme is based on the third party ownership scheme which is a popular method in countries such as Portugal and Brazil, but the rights of players cannot be directly purchased.
Although such a system is also permitted under Scottish FA rules, Clyde insist their arrangement differs and would not see them fall foul of any future prohibition, as seen in England when West Ham United bought Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez in 2006.
“The contracts are all with Clyde, so there is no third party ownership,” Bobby Gracey, director for investor relations at the club, told STV. “We have cleared this with the Scottish Football League.
“Our aim is to generate commercial interest to develop Jim Duffy’s player budget, which has diminished in recent years.
“A lot of people have interest in race horses and this is similar. It may also increase interest on match days.
“Clyde is a good home for young, Scottish talent. We hope this will improve the development of grassroots football, while also helping Clyde try to get back to a higher level.”
The Scottish FA were unavailable for comment at the time of publication. The governing body forbids players being paid by any third party, but does not expressly prevent third party ownership.
Clubs are not allowed to engage in a contract with a third party which allows them to “acquire the ability to influence in employment and transfer-related matters…”
Clyde forward Stefan McCluskey, signed in the summer from Shotts Bon Accord, is the first player to have had his contract funded by the scheme.