Shola Akinlade, co-founder and CEO of financial technology company Paystack, has bought a 55 percent stake in a second division Danish club, Aarhus Fremad. This was made public Tuesday in a statement on the website of local football club Sporting Lagos also founded by the 37-year-old tech entrepreneur.
Sporting Lagos FC is a professional football club in Lagos founded in 2022. They currently play in the second tier of the Nigeria football league system, the Nigeria National league.
“We’re delighted to announce our investment in Danish club, Aarhus Fremad. Founded in June 1947, Aarhus Fremad is currently top of the Danish 2nd Division — the third tier of the Danish football league system,” he said.
“We’re excited about this development because this is a chance for us to learn from a community-focused club with similar values.”
Sporting Lagos noted that the partnership would also create opportunities for European exposure for the best players from its project, as the club pushes on in its efforts to develop young football talent in Nigeria.
Akinlade was also quoted as saying, “I am truly honoured and excited to embark on this new chapter with Aarhus Fremad and further our shared commitment to engaging and empowering local communities.
“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.”
In his remarks, CEO of Aarhus Fremad, Lars Kruse, said it had 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.”
He added that it was fantastic that there were people with the right mindset who saw football as a catalyst for many other things.
According to Kruse, 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.
“All in all, I have the feeling right now that this is a really good match – and I look forward to continuing the development in our club as well as the collaboration with Shola and his team,” he said.
Aarhus Fremad plays in the Danish 2nd Division, the third tier of the Danish football league system. The club’s home ground is the Riisvangen Stadium.
Akinlade told CNN last year that he started Sporting Lagos to use football to create job opportunities for communities in Nigeria, and he plans to find young, untapped talents and train them to excel at the sport.
“There are so many people that are born with these skills, but it doesn’t convert to opportunity,” Akinlade said. “So I want us to spend the next 30, 40 years building something that helps the next generation of football talents in Nigeria.”