This week’s Economist has a most curious article on the football business, entitled “Welcome to the beautiful game. Football clubs can easily be used as stealing machines. Here is an instruction manual. The stories are real, but most details are concealed”.
They assert, “It is a good time to enter the football racket. Banks are less generous and sentimental about loans. Tax officials are less lenient, too, as Rangers, a big Glasgow club, discovered”.
“Set up a holding company (or a nest of them) in a discreet jurisdiction, as many owners do, and you have a money-laundering and embezzlement machine at your disposal.
“Exaggerating the attendance at matches lets you run some of the dirty takings from your previous career through the turnstiles, turning them into legitimate income (this particular ruse works best if you buy a middling club, where games are not routinely sold out).”
They conclude, “Some national associations do a spot of due diligence on new owners, but this is unlikely to interfere with your plans.”
Brazil, Balkans, Russia, Serbia and Bulgaria all get a mention but there was only the one club got a name check.
Nest of holding companies in discreet jurisdictions, money-laundering, embezzlement, exaggerated attendances, dirty previous businesses!! Read it and weep, football fans, just don’t expect the blazers to watch out for your best interests.
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