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High Court judge postpones Football Index decision

| By Nosa Omoigui
The judge presiding over the High Court case to determine how money in Football Index's player protection fund may be allocated has reserved his decision, possibly until the week ending 4 June.
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Due to pre-arranged trial commitments taking place next week, a final ruling can’t be administered until the judge, Robin Vos, is free to do so.

A statement from Football Index said: “The High Court has concluded the hearing of the Administrators’ application for guidance on the distribution of the Player Protection Fund monies. Following lengthy argument for several different dates, the Judge has reserved his decision.

“As soon as the judgement is released we will provide further details of the payment process, and ensure that payments are made at the earliest possible time.”

The High Court hearing was initially called in order to determine how to distribute the £4.5m left in Football Index’s player protection account. The money is intended for player account funds, which totalled £3.2m when the operator entered administration, but administrators said further clarity was required on dividends – a form of winnings – that would be paid based on events after 11 March.

Administrators said the operator may be liable to pay these as well, but this would put the player protection account into default.

Administrators thus called on the court determine whether 11 March (the day operator BetIndex entered administration), 26 March or a date after 26 March should be chosen as the cut-off date from when player’s bets should be considered active.

Vos also acknowledged that his decision was likely to be received negatively by some customers, no matter which way he ruled.

“I understand that no matter what way I rule, there are going to be people who lose out and people who do better,” he said.

Lexa Hilliard QC, representing administrators Begbies Traynor in arguing for either of the two earlier dates, expressed a similar sentiment.

“Either way, depending on what type of customer you are, it’s going to be unfair to somebody.”

Anthony De Garr Robinson presented the case for a later date.

During the hearing, Hilliard also pointed out that if the court opted to choose an early cut-off date for bets, leaving the player protection account with a surplus, these funds would not be taken from players, as those with active bets would still make up the vast majority of remaining creditors.

Before the hearing began, Football Index also announced additional plans to reimburse customers – outside of the High Court decision through – a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

Documents released ahead of the hearing showed that Football Index planned to go into administration on 5 March, before changing its dividend model on 8 March.

Meanwhile, proposals for a re-launch of the platform have been drawn up by BetIndex. Under the relaunch plans, creditors including customers would hold a stake in the new business.

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