Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Richard Scudamore - Desperately Seeking Omerta

The Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, in his increasingly desperate attempts to escape censure over his extensive mismanagement of our national game, continues to paint himself further into a corner from which there is no exit available that might allow his stature to be maintained and his career in football to continue.
We have highlighted in numerous previous posts the inappropriate roles undertaken by Scudamore with respect to the Quest inquiry into bungs in football, the West Ham United scandal, the fit and proper persons test for Premiership team ownership and the entirely invalid links being developed between the Premiership and the global football betting markets. So as not to cover old ground, these posts are detailed at the end of this article.
A couple of weeks back, Scudamore began making public statements which he hoped would draw a line under the rampant corruption which his stewardship has overseen. By implying that he had been a victim of highly improbable circumstance, he hoped to generate an atmosphere of sympathy before sliding out of public sight to get on with the real business behind the conversion of the sport into a gambling medium par excellence. But there are too many loose ends and his own belief in being entirely teflon results in a lack of security in his own personal portrayals of integrity.
This last week has demonstrated the non-sustainability of his position.
As we reported last week, Scudamore decided that it was valid to sit alongside Shinawatra for Man City's match against Derby County just 24 hours after an arrest warrant had been issued in Thailand for His Excellency and his wife over illegal land deals in Bangkok. This was not a bright move. By allying himself with the most inappropriate of characters in the English game at such a time and in such a manner, Scudamore was voluntarily placing the noose around his neck. We have itemised in detail Shinawatra's corruptions, betting market activities and human rights abuses over the last month but the most succinct description of His Excellency was made on Monday by one of our business contacts in the Thai capital. When asked about the view of the Thai people to Shinawatra, our contact informed us that the rural farmers of the north east of the country have been bribed into supporting Shinawatra but that the elite and the educated wished for nothing to do with him to the extent that they preferred to be run by the military until democracy is restored. Quoting our contact: "Thousands of people have simply disappeared. Nobody knows where they are or, indeed, if they are still alive. Shinawatra is a GANGSTER".
The second hiccup in Scudamore's strategic plan was that Sheffield United just won't let it lie. With adequate justification, the Yorkshire team are suing West Ham United over their relegation from the Premiership. This legal process will stretch into the New Year and will keep the illegal machinations of the Premier League and Scudamore very centrally in the public's gaze for much of the current season. West Ham understand that they do not have a judicial leg to stand on and Scudamore must be concerned that both his and the Premier League's refusal to impose the rules of the game on one of its member clubs will continue to produce column inches across the media. Even more disturbingly for Scudamore, Kia Joorabchian has teamed up with Sheffield United to provide inside information about this massive corruption. Significantly, Joorabchian has drawn to United's attention a document dated 1 December 2006, reputed to be an amendment to the player's original contract made after West Ham had been acquired by their new owners. Joorabchian is co-operating with Sheffield United because he is unhappy that the Premier League made him pay West Ham £2m before allowing Tevez's transfer to Manchester United and because he is thought to be under pressure from the financial backers of his MSI organisation. Taking each of these points in turn. The Premier League insisted on the £2 million payment in a desperate attempt to disguise the Tevez transfer to Manchester United as not being a deal based on a Third Party agreement. As we have posted previously, West Ham will get the two million quid while, eventually, Joorabchian's gang will receive upwards of £30 million which looks like a Third Party arrangement to me. The second point is indicative of the unethical natures of the individuals with whom Scudamore chooses to conduct his business. MSI are known to have or are rumoured to have links with a rum group of characters ranging from Joorabchian to Boris Berezovsky and from Pini Zahavi to Roman Abramovich. The battle between these characters and the characters within the Premier League hierarchy has been joined throughout the recent controversies relating to the bungs inquiry, the raiding of selected clubs by the City of London police, the battle for control of the global betting markets and, of course, the West Ham affair. There is an accepted wisdom that one can judge a character by the company he/she keeps and Scudamore's linkages with the MSI criminals and the Thai gangster are simply not compatible with his position at the summit of the Premier League.
The third problem facing Scudamore is that Joorabchian is willing to use his extensive knowledge of the corruption in the English game to bring the edifice tumbling down. At the weekend, Joorabchian offered to personally fund a new inquiry into the Tevez scandal as he searches for "honesty and transparency". Leaving aside the rather obvious point that Joorabchian claiming to show an interest in the moral high ground is undermined by a whole spectrum of incidences including the arrest warrant which exists in Brazil against him for money laundering, when a mafia man becomes a whistleblower the corruption that usually resides below the surface of spectacular society attention comes bubbling to the surface. Joorabchian's press release continued: "Let's have total transparency Mr Scudamore, we have nothing to hide. Why was a full, transparent and thorough investigation not done when your member clubs have a right to know what's happened? Why are they [the Premier League] clouding this issue? Why were the full facts not heard? Why were people not questioned? They never once asked us about any paperwork, never held discussions with us, never wrote us a letter. How did they decide on a £5.5million fine with only 50% of the facts."
In conclusion, we repeat our call for Scudamore to resign or to be sacked. Our legal people prevent us from going into details involving Scudamore, the Premier League, Shinawatra and the illegal underground Far East betting markets but, if readers undertake some joined-up thinking, you will not be too far from the reality that is structurally demolishing Premiership football as a competitive sport. Eventually, the full truth will out but, in the meantime, Scudamore and the Premier League are going to have to find £2 million (probably plus a little extra blackmail cash) to buy off Joorabchian and his Russian/Israeli mafiosi. These arrangements will necessarily take place behind closed doors as Scudamore and the Premier League desperately try to extricate themselves from the quicksand of their own mismanagement.
Gangsters, mafia, extra-judicial murders and disappearances, money laundering, arms dealers, betting markets liquid to over a quarter of a billion pounds, kickbacks, bungs, coercion, illegal transfers, corrupt referees, offshore financial centres, coups and the sight of His Excellency sitting alongside English football's boss...
Whatever happened to football?

Previous posts relating to Scudamore's mismanagement:

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