Shola Akinlade, the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Paystack, has bought a 55 percent stake in a second-division Danish club, Aarhus Fremad, adding to the number of Nigerian investors throwing huge sums on football business.
Akinlade, who founded Sporting Lagos FC last year, a Lagos-based football club, sees the investment as an opportunity to boost his aim of developing football talents and youth football, particularly in Nigeria.
The 76-year-old Danish club will now serve as a sister club to Sporting Lagos, creating opportunities for talents harvested locally to be exported to Europe.
Join Tekedia Capital Syndicate and invest in Africa’s finest startups here.
Tekedia Mini-MBA (June 5 – Sept 2 2023) has started. But you can still join us here
“I am truly honored and excited to embark on this new chapter with Aarhus Fremad and further our shared commitment to engaging and empowering local communities,” Akinlade said.
“By strengthening the relationship between Sporting Lagos and Aarhus Fremad, we aim to create an environment that fosters education, growth, and opportunity for our players and the community at large. I have the utmost confidence in Lars Kruse’s continued leadership as CEO, and together, we will strive to maintain the values and long-term goals that have made these clubs such a cherished part of their respective communities.”
Lars Kruse, who was the primary equity owner of Arhus Fremad, admitted that the club, which is currently on top of the 2nd division table and hopes to be promoted to Danish second-best league, has been running a deficit.
“I’ve been completely honest that I needed some help. I didn’t want to throw it all under the bus, and I’ve always thought that someone must come along when we’ve been as good as we’ve been,” Lars Kruse told Danish newspaper, Århus Stiftstidende.
Aarhus Fremad has lost 2 million kroner (about $300,000) over the past two years, according to the club’s latest financial report.
Lars Kruse said the deal has created for the two clubs, an international dimension to work with.
“It has been an exciting process, from when I first heard that they had spotted us in Fremad all the way from Nigeria to where we are standing now.
“It is fantastic that there are people with the right mindset who see football as a catalyst for many other things – and in terms of values, Sporting Lagos is a Nigerian Aarhus Fremad. In practical terms, the agreement means that we can have a much larger perspective in Fremad, as well as an international dimension to work with,” he said. Indeed, sport is business.
With this deal, AKinlade becomes the third Nigerian to purchase the majority stake of a foreign club. In 2015, Nigerian businessman Kunle Soname became the first Nigerian to own majority shares (70%) in a European football club after he acquired Portuguese second division side, Clube Desportivo Feirense.
Business woman Nneka Ede, who bought the Portuguese side Lusitano GC in 2020, was the second Nigerian to own a foreign club.
Like Akinlade, Soname is also the owner of a local football club, Remo Stars – based in Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria.