Sunday, 14 April 2013

Police and Thieves - How the Premier League Demolishes Rogue Foreign Owners

In the mid-nineties and beyond, the Asian underground betting markets entirely dominated match outcomes in the English Premier League (EPL).
These markets were/are very liquid and very illegal with brokers moving from country to country and firms changing names with the police/Interpol in hot pursuit.

One of the first Europeans to move in on these markets was Tony Bloom (then working for Gibraltar-based bookmaker Victor Chandler and now the owner of Brighton and Hove Albion).
He once informed me that £1 million bets on any EPL match didn't even solicit a blink from the underground market makers which gives some indication of the degree of liquidity that existed in such markets nearly 20 years ago.
And turnover has increased markedly in the intervening period.

                                      Anthony Grant Bloom pretending to be a reptile

As ever in the world of monied corruption, the murkier areas of the police soon became a part of the issue and if you wish to piece together a narrative of the structures involved in these collaborations then we would point you in the direction of Birmingham City chairman Peter Pannu.

                                        Peter Pannu pretending to be a policeman

Corruptions, like species, evolve.

The sheer mass of money produced in the Asian betting markets produced a whole spectrum of mafiosi (from Carsten Yeung, the billionaire former barber and Birmingham City owner currently on trial for money laundering to Thaksin Shinawatra and his chum, the QPR chairman Tony Fernandes).

As crime moves effortlessly across borders, the monies yielded from control of betting markets was surpassed by the desire to have direct control over EPL clubs to enable trading strategies to be totally watertight.

So the EPL has seen a progression of Asian "businessmen" move into the English game and the East Europeans soon followed.

The chief executive of the EPL, Richard Scudamore, and his backers were simply not willing to countenance this takeover of their turf and, like any individuals exhibiting psychopathic personality disorder traits, moves have been made to offset these influences.

To the EPL, ownership of English clubs by Americans who have made their money from pathological capitalism is fine and dandy. This generosity even extends to similar individuals of other nationalities so long as they slot seemlessly into the English establishment (think Abramovich or Al Fayed or Al Fahim at Chelsea, Fulham and Man City, for example).

But lower down the feeding chain, the EPL took non-meritocratic actions to remove the offending teams from the cash cow known as the EPL.

Check the recent relevant relegations...

This year, Reading (Anton Zingarevich) and QPR (Fernandes) have slipped through the trap door.
Previously, we have seen the removal of Birmingham (Pannu/Yeung), Portsmouth (Gaydamek), Blackburn (Venky brothers) and Blackpool (Belokon).

Meanwhile, recent match decisions in games involving Watford (the Pozzo family), Nottingham Forest (Fawaz Al Hasawi) and Leicester (Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha) make it quite clear that such outfits are not welcome in the EPL.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Cardiff City with their owner Tan Sri Dato' Seri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun when they arrive in Scudamoreworld.
Despite having made his money on the Malaysian gambling markets via his company, the Berjaya group, Tan is on the global Forbes Billionaire Rich List which might mean that he is allowed to stay in the Greed is Good League.

An external and parallel example of murkiness is at FIFA where the Secretary General of Interpol, Ronald Noble, supported the appointment of  Michael Garcia as FIFA chief investigator of corruption when Garcia's review of the FIFA/ISL scandal is seen as a cover up by Reform consultant Mark Pieth and FIFA judge Joachim Eckert.
Why would a global policeman wish to appoint an individual who is surrounded by doubts over his integrity?

And when there are a number of policemen refereeing in the EPL, the holistic structure becomes rather more murky as, from our data, each of these match officials are problematical.

A key question is where the threshold of allowed corruption occurs.
Are Stoke City (owner Bet 365 supremo Peter Coates) and Brighton (under Tony Bloom) above this threshold?

The policing of corruption would appear to be a dichotomous structure.
Corruption is to be applauded at the top tiers of the game but lower down the pecking order the EPL will not allow such abuses of match results and league realities.

So, there you go...
Forbes billionaires doing corruption is hunky dory but woe betide lesser beings lining their pockets illegally.

Just like free market capitalism!

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