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Posts from the ‘Football Finance’ Category

Not a plastic Latic, a cardboard one

Now a face in the crowd at #WiganAthletic in solidarity to financial crisis. 💙🤍

https://wiganathletic.com/news/2020/june/Fans-From-Home-Can-you-spot-yourself-in-the-crowd-/

Latics Lolly

Thread by @marksparko on Twitter.

Published to highlight the dodgy dealings that could happen in football. We all know even with County, there has been charlatans sniffing around our Club when in financial freefall:

“A thread: How Wigan Athletic have been victim to one of the greatest sporting scandals of all time.

In 2018 Dave Whelan sold Wigan Athletic to Hong Kong based International Entertainment Corporation (IEC) who specialise in gambling. Owned by professional poker player Stanley Choi of Hong Kong.

June 2020. The club officially changed hands to Next Leader Fund (NLF) based in the Cayman Islands and only set up in January 2020. Majority share in NLF? You guessed it, Stanley Choi. How did NLF afford the takeover? A loan.

IEC loaned NLF £28million with an interest rate of 8% rising to 20% if not paid back in 12 months. That’s £100,000 a week in payments which Wigan would not be able to afford. Sounds dodgy as hell right? Well the EFL didn’t seem to think swiftly approving the terms of sale.

On 24th June, NLF switched hands to a new majority stakeholder, Au Yeung Wai Kay. A week later, Chinese lawyers contacted administrators to instruct them to seize control of the club. The administrators themselves can’t even contact the owners, who have clearly ‘done a runner’.

Has Au Yeung Wai Kay always dreamed of owning a football club in Lancashire? Doubt it. He paid £17million for the club + £28million in loan repayments. That’s £45million pounds to own a club for 7 days and then place it into admin. Why would anybody do that?

Well, here’s why… This is a video of the head of the English Football League, Richard Parry, stating he’s heard a rumour that there was a big bet placed on Wigan’s relegation in the Philippines. Remember the past owner was a professional gambler who owned a string of casinos? https://t.co/uW3PTkrOAL

This video has since been confirmed as Rick Parry by the EFL.

I wonder which Philippine-based gambling company could have been used? Well look no further than the front of Wigan’s shirts. KB88 bet. Director of KB88, Tat Man Cheung, left the company prior to take over then was reinstated 12 days before Wigan was placed into administration.

KB88 brought into the club by the past owner and Darren Royle (Current Wigan Chairman). Royle used to work for KB88 Bet. He was also responsible for recommending IEC to Wigan Athletic when Whelan was looking to sell.

Royle, since the administration news, has deleted his LinkedIn account. A coincidence or to cover up communications?

So why would somebody place a club into admin 7 days after owning them and only 6 games before the end of the season? -12 points is the sanction from the EFL, dragging Wigan back into the relegation places. Nobody would want that surely?

Unless maybe you (or a close ally) gambled on the club going down and panicked as they started to pick up points and climb away. Does Au Yeung Wai Kay even exist? Or is he a fictional front man to keep Choi out of trouble?

Let me now take you back to August 2019, witnesses in the stand saw somebody get thrown out of the stadium for being wired up and illegally betting. Where in the world was he wired up to? Hong Kong. There’s a history of betting scams.

“It’s a well run club and the oddest situation I’ve ever seen” was the verdict of administrator Gerald Krasner. Wigan have always been a well run club, loss making, but controlled. We rely on funding from owners and have only spent money we either had or believed was incoming.

This money was quickly pulled from under the club’s feet by a transaction that was sanctioned by the EFL only weeks prior. The same EFL that then issued a -12 point penalty, punishing the club but potentially rewarding the owners and their carefully constructed plan.

This is an international scandal that requires investigation at the highest level. Facilitated willingly by the EFL who proceeded to punish innocent people based on their own failings. We may be too far down the line to save Wigan but this CANNOT be allowed to happen to others.

Finally, a massive thanks to @sammorsy08 Paul Cook and the rest of the lads. You are all heroes as I hear despite looking at 20% pay you’re all on the bus to Brentford.

Please share this thread, this is potentially the greatest football scandal of all time!”

Of course, the above is merely a reproduction of allegations published in the public domain.  The correct legal authorities including administrators will no doubt uncover the precise facts and whether the above content is factually correct or not.  But an intriguing story and proposition it has to be said.  We like others will follow the news as this further unfolds – and will try and buy a cardboard cut out from the S’PORT as a token gesture of support.

Read and sigh ……. “Latics Lolly” https://s-port.co/2020/07/04/latics-lolly/ via @acrobatonline #WiganAthletic from a #stockportcounty fan and supporter of real football, real clubs, real fans globally.

The Game of the Ball

Reproduced with kind permission of my Friend, Ming Zhao,  Premier League Correspondent | Project Coordinator at Super Sports (育):

“As the ban on massive gathering will remain in place for the foreseeable future, the exploitation of football as a TV show has accelerated. Below is my observation of experiencing three of the biggest European leagues in front of my digital screen during the Covid era.

Bundesliga

The “early start” of German topflight attracted worldwide attention and offered fans the first taste of mainstream football since the lockdown.

Bundesliga games behind closed doors

Despite the quality of the game itself, the visual impact of those massive empty stands in the background inevitably damages the perceived connection between the passionate and loyal German ultra groups and the Bundesliga experience. To make it worse, the echoes of those shouting instructions from the dugout reminds me of attending a FA Youth Cup tie in Oldham on a rainy Tuesday night.

You can argue with the example of the initiative of cardboard cutout fans by Borussia Mönchengladbach, but the inconsistent efforts by individual clubs help little to increase the overall product consuming experience of the league as a whole.

La Liga

Similar to its German counterpart, La Liga re-started the season with el Gran Derbi between Sevilla and Real Betis being strategically selected as the campaign opener. Anticipation was high from TV audience due to an eye-catching collaboration between La Liga and EA Sports. In a bid to boost the viewing experience, artificial crowd was first used in live broadcast to take up the empty seats and create familiar ambient sounds.

Virtual fans fail in La Liga

It proved the operators of the system, along with millions of audience, needed some time to get used to the innovation, as several awkward imagery alignments could be spotted during the first half. But I have to admit my experience of the second half of Sevilla derby and subsequent La Liga games was way smoother.

Wu Lei scores for Espanyol

Two days later, when Chinese international Wu Lei sealed the precious 3 points for relegation-threatened Espanyol, I almost forgot there was nobody but his teammates celebrating with him on the spot.

The Premier League

As the most lucrative football programme on TV, English Premier League uses the crowd noise produced by EA to augment the audio effects.

Man City plays against Arsenal

During the heavyweight clash between Man City and Arsenal (some might not agree) on the opening day, a pre-recorded soundtrack from FIFA20 was added to the authentic buzz at the stadium to simulate a normal matchday ambient at Etihad. What’s more interesting is, each time City scored a goal, cheers “from the stands” could be clearly heard from my TV sound bar. The credit goes to a dedicated audio engineer that played, again, the pre-recorded fan reaction into the audio mix.

However, in my opinion, the visual effect still needs improvement, as the mere cover-up of rows of empty seats with huge ad banners could hardly please anyone but commercial partners.

I was so obsessed with EA’s FIFA series when I was a school kid (starting from FIFA96). And EA never failed to impress me with the incremental simulation of the real sport with its annual release. As the TV show nature is explicitly emphasised by the whole football industry during the pandemic, we may have entered the era of going the other way around.”

 

Furloughed brow

It’s become a topical issue, so thought I’d add my pennies worth. I refer to the ‘should they-shouldn’t they’ debate, surrounding whether professional football should furlough employees, thus taking advantage of the up to £2,500 incentives per person.

I have just listened to former club-owner, Simon Jordan, on TalkSport, slatting the sport for taking the the Government handout, arguing such a stance was almost unethical or immoral given their traditionally cash rich industry. I personally look at it from a business perspective and say that running a business is running a business, so decisions are taken around what has most beneficial commercial returns for any enterprise including survival. That is not to say that it would be unappreciated if these same EPL clubs might make donations or CSR payments to help fight this covid 19 pandemic. I say EPL, in that apparently some clubs, lower down the pyramid, now find themselves in so-called intensive care with matches and cashflow having dried-up.

This debating stance is separate from discussions around whether footballers should take paycuts. I’m with Gary Lineker on this. Footballers are an easy target due to the profile and popularity of the sector. There are other industrial sectors and leaders that perhaps should be targeted before this game, in order of priority. Pay reduction is a matter for individual clubs and players. Of course, those that can afford to lead by example will be recognised by their actions at this time of crisis. I understand Manchester United have agreed to 30% reductions under squad stewardship of Captain, Harry Maguire.

A political hot potato and people will have differing viewpoints. These are financial debating points, yet I seek to end with repetition of actions that apply to everyone. #staysafe #stayathome #protectourNHS 💙💙💙

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Adrian Stores is CEO of ACROBAT FCSM, a sub-contract commercial resource available to sports clubs nationwide and globally; and FA Registered Intermediary at Ballon Sports Agency.

Contact: adrian.stores@acrobatfcsm.com