Dispatches & The Football League: Not Quite A Smoking Gun, But Possibly A Start


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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11 Responses

  1. Brilliant summary and a good parallel with News International. I certainly display a weariness in my own post for The Two Unfortunates blog but it doesn’t mean I wasn’t appalled by the Programme and the way clubs are registered in tax havens, rules and bent and ownership hidden.

  2. Tim Vickerman says:

    Absolutely spot on summary. I watched with a kind of weary resignation. The major point of concern is just how hard it is to ensure clubs and the people supporting them are separate and have no conflicts of interest. I imagine it wouldn’t be legal to ensure that all owners/holding companies be registered in the UK.

    Certainly, in the short-term, the FA, Premier League and Football League should have unified, strict controls on ownership that are completely transparent but it’s always going to be impossible to stop wealthy people/consortia meeting officials in private and buying influence.

    The suggestions of abusing the loan system also need to carefully considered. I do think it has got out of control recently with clubs filling their squads with players they haven’t actually signed.

  3. Noddy says:

    Basically, the program was a complete load of rubbish.
    Sim is no different that the journalist involved. Just trying to make things sound sensational to turn a buck, or in the case of Dispatches, to increase viewing figures. nice bit of aduio editing just when Robson was going to ask a question put to him as well.
    Of course there’s problems in football. Think this lot missed the point completely though.
    Move on!

  4. Phil Ascough says:

    Loved the suggestion that Darren Ferguson benefited from his old man supplying him with loan players. PNE fans may have a different view. My biggest concern is how little is known about ownership of some clubs and how feeble the game’s authorities are when it comes to doing anythign about it. The programme changed nothing and on its own wasn’t strong enough to lead calls for a proper investigation.

  5. Gary Reginald says:

    I hope it encourages critical thinking fans – unlike the above – to delve a bit further into inappropriate relationships. Also, have we sufficiently emphasised the motives for club ownership? The betting liquidity on single PL matches can be as high as £1 BILLION globally, but the majority of that is in southeast Asia. The ability affect outcomes and trade on insider knowledge is far more valuable to many in football – some of whom really are the first names you’d think of – than the integrity of the competition. Alex Ferguson socialises with an Asian broker / bookmaker. Think about it!
    Another issue people are overlooking with ownership is that a disturbing % of clubs in the top two tiers are owned or sponsored by the gambling sector – obv foreign ownership is not unrelated, but also consider Tony Bloom (Brighton) or Dermot Desmond (Celtic, Betdaq).

  6. Richard says:

    Underlying it all is the subtext that the owners want to make their money solely by getting on the golden ship that is the Premier League.

    It would be interesting to know whether Richard Scudamore was approached to appear on the programme, and if he declined why he chose to do so.

  7. SjMaskell says:

    ‘Of course there’s (sic) problems in football Move on.’

    That’s alright then – I can rest easy now. Ask Pompey fans if that’s OK with them will you? See what you get.

    As others say – the perpetuated myth that promotion to the PL is the way to earn easy money over a short term investment (3- 5 years) is laughable in the extreme. Any investor wanting money out of Sheff Utd in that time span will be brought up short I think.

    However, who gets to make a buck or two whilst they are trying?

    Perpetuating the boom/bust cycle does football no favours. And fan complacency about such problems lets such scam artists just carry on trying.

  8. Stanley says:

    The programme was a total disappointment. Nothing was done to determine whether or not London Nominees actually did have the connections they claimed. A few photos of Joe Sim on the pitch at Bramall Lane is nowhere near damning. The more interesting topic of those who currently own clubs (eg. Cardiff, Leicester, Leeds, Barnsley…) was mentioned in passing, but left untouched. A thorough investigation into carpetbagging in football was waiting to break out, but never did. The most shocking thing for me was Greg Clarke’s admission of the Football League’s impotence.

    While I agree that anything which prompts fans to think more deeply about the issue of transparency in club ownership is a good thing, I’m far from sure that this programme will do anything other than increase the general air of cynicism.

  9. Dan_cafc says:

    We have been digging at Charlton for a few months now to find out who is behind our ownership. Mr Slater and Jiminez are the front men and 49% of the holding company is undeclared. Someone has managed to trace it back to the British Virgin Islands and a Kevin Cash. But apart from that, god knows

  10. Gervillian Swike says:

    This horse bolted many moons ago. It’s a good article here, and acknowledges that the programme didn’t really uncover a great many real wrongs there – some foreign businessmen wanting to invest in some kind of British concern in order to make money, and maybe exaggerate a few things, bend a few rules and take advantage of a few loopholes along the way – that’s normal business for most people, however unsavoury. The concern I guess is the possible impact on the clubs that may be involved. But it’s too late, football wasn’t a business, now it is a business, this is the consequence, and I can’t see effective regulation being introduced now. that’s my resigned shrug I suppose.

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