Thursday, 12 February 2015

The Impact Of Extreme Financial Distortions On The Integrity Of British Football

Britain's Annual GDP = £1.77 trillion.

Estimated Annual Global Betting Turnover on Football = £1 trillion.

New Premier League TV deal covering three seasons = £5.1 billion.

Average Global Betting Turnover on a Big 4 Premier League game = £5.0 billion.

Manchester United Market Capitalisation = £2.8 billion.

Premier League Annual Agents' Fees = £115 million.

Maximum Trade allowed in Asian Underground Markets  = £25 million.

Wayne Rooney's Annual Earnings = £12 million.

Richard Scudamore's Annual Earnings = £2 million.

Premier League Referee Annual Earnings = £100,000.

Annual Minimum Wage Employees at Premier League Clubs = £12,000. 

In late capitalism, financial distortions within a sector define the corruptions available...
... and, unfortunately, everybody has a price.

For example, the fact that the new Premier League tv deal (covering 1140 games) is worth the equivalent of the total global trading volume on just one major Premier League game is indicative of absolute betting market control of the sector. 

Or, the fact that 54 nation states have an annual GDP less than the new Premier League tv deal - Richard Scudamore runs a small country.

Or, the fact that the very lightly regulated global betting market has turnover equivalent to 56% of Britain's GDP is suggestive of the pressing need for far more onerous regulation.

Or, the fact that most bookmaking entities are linked to Offshore Financial Centres guaranteeing tax evasion and money laundering.

Or, the fact that referees on £2,000 per week are determining match outcomes on £5 billion markets resulting in an absolute certainty of matchfixing.

Or, if the market capitalisation of a club is exceeded by the betting turnover on just one of their matches then are we dealing with a football club or an inversion capital market medium?

When such financial structures exist, the outcomes are warped beyond recognition and bear no resemblance to the reality underpinning the corrupted marketplaces - we are dealing with a hyperreality.

Take horseracing.
My thesis in the mid-nineties was entitled "The Impact of Conspicuous Money on Outcome in British Horserace Betting Markets".
Here we had 'sporting' events with prize money of £3,000 and betting turnover of £10 million - the distorted incentives produced extensive corruption and the fixing of races to the benefit of ALL insiders (bookies, owners, trainers, jockeys etc).

The corruption was orchestrated from the very top of the industry sector.

While at the Centre for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming, I had discussions with Rodney Brack, the chief executive of the British Horseracing Levy Board (BHLB), where we openly discussed the mechanics of fixing a horserace - from non-trying jockeys to selected watering of courses etc etc etc.
Brack had no problem with these corruptions.

But horseracing is an internalised corrupted market of limited turnover whereas matchfixing in football is a truly transnational global affair.
This leads to an exponential increase in the levels of corruption.

The population at large has a real problem with corruption. There is a propensity to either assume that corruption exists but is acted upon by only a few bad apples or that everything is corrupt and that the only way to determine reality is by conspiracy theories.
Both are wrong.
Corruption in sport is extensive but not absolute.

And, the information and knowledge is out there if one cares to look.

Richard Murphy (Tax Justice Network) and Ian Fraser both knew about HSBC and tax avoidance/evasion in 2010 or earlier but there was minimal media interest and no action.
Or Phil Mac Giolla Bhain exposed the financial shenanigans at Glasgow Rangers years before the mainstream media eventually decided to pick up on the extensive corruptions and tax avoidance/evasion at the club.
Entertainingly for the zeitgeist, income inequalities not only produce fraud, money laundering and tax evasion but also a far greater incentive for whistleblowers to confront and expose the criminalities at play.
Joseph Stiglitz claims that, in extremis, these wealth distortions create revolutionary paradigms partially due to the disconnect between the hyperrealities of the 1% and the' real' realities of the 99%.

And so it is in football.

We are largely unemployable in British football due to our 8 year whistleblowing campaign against corruption, matchfixing and fraud in the sport - no entity wants transparency.
But aside from the likes of ourselves, there are other individuals who are within the millionaire's paradise who feel thoroughly disenfranchised from the rewards on offer.
And there are others who, aware of the distortions in the sector, have a price where they will sell out on the corruption for personal gain.

The fulsome exposure of matchfixing, corruption, tax evasion, money laundering and fraud in British football is merely a matter of time.
And then everyone will say "why wasn't this exposed by mainstream media, regulators, institutions and government before now?"

Just as we are all now asking that same question about HSBC, HMRC, PwC, Barclays, RBS, the Murdochracy, Lehman Brothers, Enron etc etc etc ad nauseum.

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