A relatively poor response from a long list of high profile footballers is thought to be frustrating a police investigation into an alleged fraud involving upwards of £20 million.
The Professional Football Association has assisted the Metropolitan Police by contacting many dozens of players, household names among them, who officers suspect have been stung in an "investment" scheme run by the former Wolves and Coventry City midfielder Michael McIndoe.
Those players, their family, friends and even business associates it is alleged, handed over huge sums to McIndoe believing they would get a high rate of return on their down payment.
Despite many dozens of letters being sent out by the PFA, I understand the feedback has so far been “disappointing.”
Sources with some knowledge of the investigation say there are a dozen or so footballers who are prepared to testify against McIndoe but the hope is this communication will prompt others to come forward.
Sent to the players on the Met’s behalf by union boss Gordon Taylor, the letter ends by asking them to get in contact even if they don’t want to be drawn into the investigation.
Many footballer "victims" who have previously spoken to ITV News have indicated they don’t want their losses publicised due to the embarrassment that involves and others it’s thought earn so much that a loss of say £100,000 can be recouped in a matter of weeks in wages alone.
But that still leaves many more, who have never received Premier League salaries, claiming they’ve lost everything and as a result have been forced to rebuild their lives.
Investigators are hoping the response might improve when the current season comes to an end and players start their summer break.
The case was first launched by the specialist Falcon fraud team at New Scotland Yard and has now been passed on to the Complex Case Unit there.
One current footballer, who says he lost tens of thousands of pounds, told me today: “It's frustrating that he’s yet to be arrested. I’m not really sure what the hold up is."
Among those believed to have invested with McIndoe are Jimmy Bullard, Freddie Eastwood, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and former Wolves goalkeeper Matt Murray.
Those four alone are thought to have lost in excess of £2 million.
It’s emerged recently that a current Championship manager, who it’s believed lost £400,000, could well prove a key, new witness in the case.
McIndoe has attended several bankruptcy hearings and through his solicitor has always denied any allegation of wrongdoing.