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Around 500 footballers lost £1bn from poor wealth advice

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Around 500 footballers lost £1bn from poor wealth advice

More than 500 former football players have lost as much as £1 billion through poor investment and tax advice, the Guardian reports. 

An accountancy professional with knowledge of ex-players' finances told the paper that footballers who played for Premier League clubs in the 1990s and early 2000s lost their fortunes due to poor investment advice and tax penalties from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Many footballers have been told to pay penalties after investing in schemes which aimed to take advantage of tax breaks for film productions. 

At least one group has launched legal actions against the advisers who recommended the schemes. Yesterday, ex-Manchester United player Andy Cole started legal proceedings against Coutts over a tax avoidance scheme.

According to the Guardian, former players have joined calls for an independent review of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) over what they feel is a lack of protection for players who received unsuitable advice. 

Former Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Charlton Athletic player Danny Murphy appeared on TalkSport yesterday to highlight concerns about how his generation of players were treated by some advisers. 

'You have to remember that we as Premier League players, we were at Premier League clubs, we were not protected by the PFA, not protected by the Premier League, when the IFAs were coming into the football clubs and brainwashing us or manipulating us. Young lads with no idea of money or concept of what to do. So now we have got these problems that they can’t deal with,' he said. 

Murphy also highlighted how cases of dementia and historic sexual abuse claims have caused detriment to the mental wellbeing of many former footballers. 

'Since the TV money got big and players of my generation started retiring, problems have become bigger,' he said. 'Financial issues, lots of bankruptcy; we’ve had sexual abuse, dementia has become a huge one for older players; mental health, addiction, all these things now are too much for the PFA to deal with, but they have the funds to expand and help…this is about an organisation that has the capacity to help hundreds of people who are in desperate need, and they’re not doing enough. Their responsibility to players and ex-players is huge but it’s not being fulfilled.'

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