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April 2021

We have a definite link between buying a club and match fixing

Untold Arsenal on Twitter  @UntoldArsenal

By Walter Broeckx

As I am not from England I have a bit of a handicap in some things. Even though we can see some channels over here in Belgium we don’t get all the UK channels.  So I couldn’t see the Dispatches programme about “buying a football club”.

And as I could find out from the comments of our readers the most worrying thing about this whole programme was the deafening silence the day after.  Now if I can compare this with the upset we had in Belgium when in our local “Panorama” we had an undercover report about the Chinese gambling syndicates and the way they operated in our league it gets even more strange. Because in my country the papers had to order extra paper to write it all down. Every self respecting weekly wrote several articles about it. Even the local advertising magazine of Lidl covered it. Okay maybe this last one not – but virtually everyone else.

But now nobody in the press seems interested in this story. Not a word to be found. And this is something that scares me. This is something that really frightens me.  You could say that there is a big difference between “buying a team” and “buying players in order to buy a result”. And yes at first sight there is a big difference. If you don’t pay attention you could say what is the relevance of this. Why could this be important?

Now I don’t know where the Panorama programme stopped but I would sure like to add a few things about what could happen after a team has been bought.  And for this I will have to tell you a few things on how it went in Belgium.

The pivotal figure in the match fixing scandal was Ye, a Chinese business man. He went to clubs who were in financial problems. And at first he presented himself as an investor and offered to buy the club and help it pay off the debts. Of course some clubs were interested in this way out of trouble. What they didn’t know at that time was that they would be used for match fixing.  And after first giving some money to the club and trying to buy it to get full control the match fixing started.

Until it all came out after some time and he had to run to China where he still is. The Belgium justice department still has an international arrest warrant against Ye but he is never seen again over here.

So what we have now is: a definite link between buying a club and match fixing.  It has happened in Belgium. But it also has happened in Finland with the now bankrupt club Allianssi. Again Ye bought the club in financial troubles and then after a while the strange results came out. But the Finnish justice department could not prove anything. Maybe because he had left the country just in time? Or because no involved player was brave/stupid enough to risk his life to break the silence?

So now it seems rather easy to buy a club in England. But then comes the question : why do they want to buy it?  You only need one crook in the system to start it. Just imagine two of those in one league…

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So I really cannot understand why the press in England doesn’t make this well known link between “buying a club” and “buying results”. If they would make the link and warn the public and say: now look, this is what happened in other countries so we have to be on the lookout for strange things.  We have to keep an eye open if the owners really are who they pretend to be. Certainly if they come from China or other parts of the world where there is a lot of illegal gambling on football games. (Don’t get me wrong as I have nothing against Chinese people at all. I even had a very good Chinese friend in my schooldays and believe it or not his name was Yu – with an U and not with an E …)

It looks as if the press sticks their collective heads in the sand and don’t want to look up for a possible danger. They just don’t want to mention it. I’m not saying it is happening, or has happened but can anyone tell me it will surely not happen in England?

Now of course it could be that the press in England is lazy. Maybe they spend so much time inventing transfer rumours that making such links is a bit too difficult for many journalists?

But believe me when the ownership of a team goes in other hands it is well worth of having a closer look at the new person( s) in charge. Before you know it they not only own the club but also the private life of some players in order to buy some results.  Players have to fear for their lives or the lives of their relatives as happened in Belgium. In fact one of the involved clubs is the closest Jupiler League team from my home. It’s only some 10-15 minutes away from my home.  Who would have thought that it would happen to this rather nice and friendly club.

But the fact that the media don’t touch those subjects is very strange. And frightening. Well at least over here we have warned you for what can happen if you get the wrong people on board of a club.


Antony Kastrinakis: defacing the Arsenal: The story of one journalist’s obsession with knocking Arsenal FC.

Phone hacking and football; refs and club owners

Untold Media: Launch of new media section, and we need your help

The index of recent articles, and links to the various sections of Untold can be found in the Untold Index. For Arsenal  History there is (rather logically) an Arsenal History Index.

And from the Arsenal History site…

Are you related to anyone involved in the original Woolwich Arsenal club?  Player, supporter, manager, official, director…  If so I need to hear from you

Making the Arsenal: the antidote to modern journalism

62 comments to We have a definite link between buying a club and match fixing

  • Shard

    Haven’t read the rest of the article yet, but the programme was Dispatches on Channel 4. As far a I know, Panorama is a BBC program, the one that said that Alex Ferguson’s son paid bungs and got preferential access to the players in his work as an agent. The reason Ferguson doesn’t talk to the BBC, which ManU fans portray as a father fighting for his son’s honour, and oh what a noble cause it is.

  • Malaysian Gooner

    The media will not touch on this issue because I think the English (no offence) will not admit that their league is in danger of corruption. How many millions of hearts will be broken if they found out the club they support are fixing matches to win.

    That said, I am 100% sure that match fixing does happen in England. It’s just that people don’t want to admit it. And this will destroy football totally.

  • Anne

    Could someone please provide me with a link to this Panorama thing? I can’t find it…And the fact that I can’t find it makes me feel that it’s definitely something I should see.

  • Anne


    These are VERY interesting insights about your local league. Once again, this is a scandal that I had never even heard of before, but one that is definitely worth knowing about. Thanks.

  • Shard

    Check your e mail 🙂

  • mick

    I saw the programme and the most worrying thing I thought was that the Chinese business man involved made his fortune in betting. He then went on to say that a well known Scottish manager in the Manchester area with whom he was good freinds regularly gave him ‘advice’ as to what to bet on. Sounds dodgy don’t you think.

  • Salami

    English media are hiding theirselves over match fixing,signing of players from one country to another, even buying of players within has so far made me angry that some matches playd honesty is justifiable…i guess when it struck the’s gona be war,dsgrace hatred..other leagues will flourish..let british media and it’s football body take necessary action this issues..match fixing is silent in england.hmm

  • Anne

    @Malaysian Gooner:

    Your point really touches on one of the things that makes me most angry about all of this match fixing/media propaganda/etc stuff. And that’s that, when corrupt people get involved in football, it’s something that really ruins the lives of so many people. Not completely, and I know I’m exagerating that, but it really still kind of does.

    With all of the power, money, greed, corruption, etc, in the world, with all of the numerous criminal ways that these souless people have to fatten their checkbooks, and considering that we have very little power to do anything to stop them…On top of that, do they have to ruin our Saturdays and Sundays as well?

    Do they have to ruin our weeks by conducting media intimidation campaigns related to our football clubs? Part of the reason that we love football so much is just because it’s something beautiful that helps take the edge off of everything else that they’re doing.

    So why can’t we at least have that?! Are there so few new “business” openings in the world of organized crime that they can’t just let us have our f****** football? Anyway…

    Sorry, I guess that was kind of a rant… 🙂

  • Wow your articles are great reading and I really like your insights and intelligent individual thoughts which are greatly lacking on our wide web.
    Mr Palmer is getting real boring in his criticism of everything Arsenal, at least you guys have some faith and passion for our lovely club. It is at the end of the day a game and should be enjoyed as such. Will we ever know exactly what goes on I dont think so. I see the AFC problems quite simply as all they need to do is to get the ball in the net and keep it there …
    Keep up the great work its much appreciated.

  • Andy Kelly

    It could be that the press don’t want to stir up the hornet’s nest because of the likes of Fergie.

    A football journalist wants to ensure that he has access to as many managers as possible. If he/she upsets a big name then they risk being banned by the big name’s club. This has been seen with Fergie refusing to speak to the BBC and the hack that dared to ask if Ryan Giggs was an important member of his squad after he had been outed by the media.

    If you are a football journalist, being banned from contact with the likes of Fergie is not going to do you any good. If Manchester United were suspected of being involved in match fixing of any sort, football journalists would think twice about making a song and dance about it.

  • Shard

    @Andy Kelly

    If Wenger stopped talking to the press, would the negative articles stop?

  • bob

    As I said yesterday, you can’t get that broadcast Stateside: Channel 4’s message says it’s out of their area/regional rights to make it available on the web. If any US people find a way, let us know.

  • bob

    Do you have a link to the survey that opines that ManU is the most hated brand in UK football? Potentially very useful and important, and surely not well known or discussed.

  • bob

    The guy is Thai, from the comments his name is Sim; and, says the media coverage to date: SAF’s lawyers have acknowledged he’s a friend/acquaintance of Fergie, but that they’ve purportedly never discussed club ownership, etc., as the doco alleges.

  • Shard


    I posted one link but it isn’t showing it, and if I try and put it again, then i says duplicate comment and refuses to publish it. I’ll try another link right now.

  • bob

    The initial impression was deafening silence when Stevie E initially tried to find reference to it on the various newspapers own websites. However, by searching on “robson & football club,” he found a lot of coverage (107 links), so not a blackout, and the Telegraph and others reported that the English FA was looking into the points raised in the doco, while others covered in passing that Fergie’s lawyers pooh-poohed any hint of truth. Also, said that Robson was likely to be cut off as one of ManUre’s worldwide roving ambassadors. Poor fellow.

  • Anne


    Someone will probably put it on youtube or something. But we might have to wait a little while.


    Could any of you give me a direct quote from the title of the story, or something that’s said, or something. If I can search for a direct quote I might be able to find it.

  • Shard


    Probably the most memorable quote is Robson saying football’s not a sport, it’s a business.

  • bob

    Shard, all:
    Many Thanks for that great link, Shard…
    The important article – from March 29th of this year – from the well-read Daily Mail states that the polling company is called Online Opinion and the poll results are as follows:
    “In a survey of 1,000 UK adults, 26 per cent said they hated Manchester United compared to 23 per cent who cannot stand budget airline Ryanair, the next most despised company.”
    “Manchester United is possibly a victim of its own success and the way it is viewed by passionate fans of its rivals but it is different for banks and utilities.”
    Also, underneath the photo of ManUre’s celebrating a victory (with Vidic or Rio? at the top of the heap), is this caption: “Most hated: Manchester United may have the biggest crowds and a winning record but their success and power alienates many.”
    SOME KEY LESSONS to consider going forward:
    The list of the 11 most hated companies shows not only ManUre at the top of the heap, but also SKY (its top media enabler) as tied for 9th place with BT (the phone company!).
    To me, the power of the response is that it shows a consumer orientation and how much anger consumer’s feel toward the brands that are most in their faces and otherwise, that they use for vacations and other disposable income choices.
    To those who may feel that ManUre is beloved and untouchable, well then, perhaps that is the media-created PERCEPTION (created that is, by continual REPETITION, as several of us discussed yesterday), and that there’s far more hope than not for the kind of media critique and football analysis hereabouts will find a more welcome home outside UA than we may have expected. How about a Vidic Watch, Walter?

    Read more:

  • Anne


    Which email address did you email me at? I don’t see anything at the anne.thompson.79 email address. If you used a different one that you got from fb just tell me the first few letters.

    But Tony just told me that he emailed me to let me know that my article was up, and I didn’t get that either, so Im trying to get to the bottom of this. I really hope that it doesn’t have anyting to do with me mis-typing my own email address 🙂

  • Anne


    Maybe it’s a business to some people. But it’s a sport to me 🙂

  • bob

    Peckham Gooner,
    They want you to think that “at the end of the day” it’s “just a game” and “we should enjoy it.” Well, if you don’t want to know that your entertainment is fixed, it’s your right. Just don’t tell your children what’s behind the curtain.

  • para

    It’s time people wake up and realise what type of world we are living in.
    One just has to read history to realise that corruption rules the world from beginning to end. It starts at the top, (that’s how they got to the top) and works it’s way down.
    The honest people in the world who have challenged this were either eradicated in some way, or ended up becoming corrupt to protect themselves and their family.
    So do not be surprised at anything that happens, any scandals that come out, for money rules this world people.
    Anyone seeing different is still in their rosa coloured glass bubble.

  • Shard

    anne.thompson.79 (at) is where I sent the mails.

  • bob

    Thanks, para, for the dismal truth. I’ve been trying to find even one scintilla of hope in all the coverage over the last two weeks that maybe one or two people have had enough of the corruption hereabouts. I don’t know. I’ll keep trying. But, then again, maybe with your say-so it’s really impossible to find anything to give anyone any hope at all for revulsion or rejection of corruption. Hmmm, there’s this family of a girl who is outraged, and a few people seem to agree that someone went too far, and… well, wait. You’re probably right and I should just stop seeing such things. Must be an illusion. Thanks, mate.

  • Pete

    Maybe mails are going to your spam box…?

  • bob

    p.s. para,
    I was thinking that maybe if you changed, say, the black paint on your glass bubble to say, rosa, or light yellow, or even say, no paint for just a while; that then, some sun (not that Sun!) could shine in. Then let’s compare notes on what you see. Isn’t it worth a try, I mean even for just an hour, or a day even? Don’t underestimate me, and I won’t underestimate you. C’mon let’s give it a try?

  • Shard

    Here is one writeup that seeks to underplay the possible consequences of the programme, while all the time saying that it is not doing so of course.

  • Shard

    We seem to have a counter surge against the program which is strange considering there was no surge in the first place.

  • Shard


    Why is my link not being published. I found a link to watch the programme online but it isn’t showing it here. I’ve tried thrice to put it

  • mark

    England ought to pay more attention to this kind of thing. The Asian gambling syndicates are very powerful and very rich. There are lots of connections between them and politicians. I am disturbed that gambling groups are sponsors of some teams and the amount of gambling that some managers and players are involved in with other sports. All this can only have a corrupting affect on football.

  • bob

    That guy is just hand-wringing about hand-wringing. He demands an intelligent discussion of club buying and corruption which he spends an entire long column without providing. And he ends by calling the program “porn.” What he does, Spike’s top football/media reporter it says, is put us back to sleep by saying well they didn’t give us a serious analysis with proof, rather than making a serious call for exactly that. He’s clever – a new twist on how to blow smoke. These playas really think they’re the smartest guys in the room and that there’s no one out there to see through their game. Makes one wonder about him and Spike and who they be football-biz wise.

  • Shard


    since I’m unable to put up the link for watching the programme, I’m going to try and write it out…


  • bob

    Maybe just consider the best excerpts, as there may be a copyright restriction on reproducing their whole thing without their prior permission. So, please, just be mindful.

  • Shard


    that is true. I guess then there is no way to watch it.. That site is the only place I could find that shows the programme. I’ll keep looking for something else in the meantime of course, and there do seem to be the dispatches older episodes on youtube, so maybe it’ll appear there in a while. Though youtube also has non-copyright videos I guess.

  • bob

    Shard, Walter, all,
    It is interesting to find that in these last two anti-programme pieces – Local Guardian and the Daily Mirror – serious doubt is cast on it, but one word – which decidedly appeared in the doco – does not appear in print: Ferguson. An accusation was implied in the documentary. There is no proof at all. But to erase his name from the programme, even as other earlier reports (Telegraph, etc.) say his lawyers are denying any such implication about SAF, is poor journalism. The story, then, becomes all about either Channel 4 is lying or Robson is lying. Any reference that Fergie’s name was mentioned by his friend Sim (at least) in the programme may (I repeat may) disappear. Something to watch for going forward.

  • Shard


    Exactly. It’s as if Ferguson’s name never appeared in connection with any wrongdoing at all. If you recall how little the bullying of the journalist who dared to ask a question about one of the ManU players before a Champions league final was talked about, it clearly shows that Ferguson is largely off limits for the media. Now why would that be?

  • Anne


    Thanks. That was it 🙂

  • Anne


    I think you might be thinking in a way that is overly pessimistic. It’s easy to focus on the bad, but oftentimes difficult to remember that there’s still much more good in the world. In the end, it’s all about shifting the balance of power. There are ways to do it. But in the meantime, you should enjoy your life. There are lots of good moments that you should be taking advantage of right now, so never forget that 🙂

  • bob

    “BREAKING NEWS” (again)
    All, for the third day running, has featured – in bold and red – Tony’s “Phone hacking and football: refs and club owners- Untold Arsenal” at the top of its Breaking News section, the top section of the website. Everyone who visits that site from far and wide will see it. It’s unprecedented (to my knowledge for that website, and) a tribute to UA’s efforts and online clout.

  • Anne


    And you shouldn’t be so pessimistic yourself 🙂 One of the biggest problems with the world is that we all realize that we can’t fix the entire world, and thus we all tend to give it up as a lost job. However, the things that you do on a smaller scale still have meaning….

  • Anne


    I really do want to see this Channel 4 program. Thanks for the links. On first impressions, I’d say that this appears to be fantastic. And I’ll wait to think about that more before I elaborate on it.

  • Anne


    Why WOULD that be? Seriously. Why exactly is Sir Alex A****** off limits to the media? Do you have a theory?

  • Anne

    Sorry, I meant Sir Alex Ferguson…

  • Malaysian Gooner

    “England ought to pay more attention to this kind of thing. The Asian gambling syndicates are very powerful and very rich. There are lots of connections between them and politicians. I am disturbed that gambling groups are sponsors of some teams and the amount of gambling that some managers and players are involved in with other sports. All this can only have a corrupting affect on football.”

    Mark nailed it. Well done Sir, you took the words out of my… ummm.. fingers!

  • Notoverthehill

    The Dispatches programme looked bad, really bad.

    As far as I am aware there is nothing to stop any reasonable person from dining at the MUFC watering hole? Bryan Robson at times looked like a younger version of Ferguson senior and was being well-oiled. Sheffield Wednesday would their stadium be suitable for European matches? If not how much would a renovation or rebuild cost? The verbal prospectus was not viable for want of detail!

    OMG the Mail interview 1000 people and ManIOU is the best that they came up with! The readership of the Mail is perhaps more numerous than The Guardian but I would say the latter is better at opinion performances.

    Well done Anne, I believe you have started something that should be expanded to the sub-editors/editors if possible? Perhaps Tony can advise here as to how a reporter’s copy can be edited?

  • bob

    not real pessimism – just being ironic, a fisher of men, so to speak:) avante!

  • bob

    In a Media which dare not mention a certain name in relation to the Channel4 program that you praise, are you not in the least impressed that a Daily Mail article (actually of an Online Opinion poll, as I mentioned) that mentions ManUre at the Number One Hate Object has some value? First, that the published it at all to a very large readership. Second, that the poll is not 1000 people only, but they are, if it’s a random sample, indicate of MANY people in the country. This is not ho-hum stuff, I would venture, and is encouraging to efforts to hold up the red card to the media campaigns that try to install ManUre as champions – in their Rednose 20th – before the season has even begun. Don’t you think so?

  • Notoverthehill

    The Daily Mail was the first tabloid to go for human interest stories back in the late 1880s if my timing is correct. The then owner went to to greater propaganda effects against the Kaiser and his supporters in World War I. The tabloids are still manufacturing stories without end.

    Who paid the pollster, we are not told. How was the poll conducted, we are not really, really told.

    Bryan Robson has or did have some health problem as he had to give up a Thailand job? ManIOU have done Bryan Robson a huge favour giving him an easy berth in their commercial team. Strip out the Glazers and the interest payments to buy the club, and Red Football Limited are showing Arsenal Holdings a clean pair of heels!

  • bob

    Fair enough your point on the Daily Mail poll and its long history of propaganda manufacture. I have no doubt as to their ongoing tabloid “inventiveness.” I’ve never seen a hit on MU as a brand like this in UK media. Perhaps it’s nothing new, but I’d like to know if that’s the case over the last year or two or three. So, it could well be a lie, or not. And you’re right to further question the legitimacy of that un-sourced poll. Good. I’ll look further into the article/poll and see whether I can find anything further to tell us. If so, I’ll post it. If it’s bogus or not, we’ll learn something either way.

    As for your defense of MU because they’ve taken care of Robson for health reasons, that’s all to the good that someone has needed health care. That said, I’d also like to see others with the same or similar health concerns having resources like the ones that the Glazer’s club’s resources (which you are keen to strip out) are providing him with to also help them. Don’t you think that would be a good thing too?

  • Notoverthehill

    @Bob, I will try again as the site was “unhelpful”?

    The Daily Mail was the first tabloid to go in for human interest stories back in the 1880s if my timescale is correct. During World War I the owner was in charge of the propaganda campaign against the Germans. Since then all tabloids have tried to make the story? With The Arsenal I believe it is still too much Trafalgar and Waterloo. Mr Wenger is in the half-way house of Alsace, French and German.

    I do not believe I defended ManIOU, but pointed out the fact that anybody could dine in the MUFC catering facilities. It is also a fact that Red Football Limited is commercially superior to Arsenal Holdings, at this moment in time. I do not ignore facts, however unpalatable.

  • bob

    (1) What was “unhelpful” about which site? Please clarify.
    (2) This is bound to be comical (and why not), as I think we’re missing each other’s meanings (maybe?) But now, are you saying that Arsene is, to some, a symbol of Alsace-Lorraine and an extension somehow of the Daily Mail’s connection to WWI-propaganda? (I dunno. Thought I’d take a crazy shot there, but feel like I’m still in no man’s land, so help me out again as to exactly what you mean.)
    (3) Didn’t mean to imply that you were defending ManIOU, but just wondering whether Robson does regularly dine at the ManIOU facilities? do you, by the way? And no, facts are facts, however unpalatable. And if you have some for me to try to digest, please make them a drop clearer for me, so I can try to digest them. Really, I have no problem with being right or wrong. So help me out there, Ok?

  • walter

    If I just may add that the Chinese person Ye did not present himself as the person owning a gambling syndicate but he presented himself as a very serious businessman if textile (if my memory is right)

    But he turned out to be someone else…

  • lebob

    You can download the dispatches program here

    choose slower download and save to your PC then play with windows media player or VLC player

  • bob

    This article speaks to the massive extent of match fixing across Europe and rooted in Asia, etc., but the working assumption and hope is that none of this is in the UK; and that these measures could help keep it that way. Bladder even talks about what a disaster it would be if the contagion hit the UK.
    On one of the UA blog postings this week, someone put a newspaper link to an arrest in London – down his very block – of a Malaysian guy living there, who I think has had a big Chinese connection with club buying going on. I can’t find it as yet, but it’s on UA.

  • bob

    p.s. again, with this magnitude of the problem officially admitted, it’s stunning that FIFA/Uefa/FA have looked only to goal line technology in 2013 as their practical response to better refereeing. Since it gets played out in pitch results, it’s remarkable that they won’t try a “face saving” experiment with video replay on the pitch ( – that is, without admitting that it’s really about catching bent officials and players). In other words, they will spend 10Million to put Interpol on the case but nothing for video technology to monitor the pitch. At best it’s massive denial. After that, well, as your article documents it….

  • Jitty

    It’s an obvious scam most obviously run at City (Thaksin), Portsmouth and now Brum.

    The onshore entity (i.e. the club) is the loss making shell. But notice how genuine cash losses may not actually be suffered by the ‘owner’. Assets may be stripped out of the club (e.g. Portsmouth).

    Offshore, insider information can be traded for huge money. e.g. in Macau. Throw in sponsorship from a gambling company and you are all set.

    The reason why the media does not comment or investigate on Brum or Robson is blindingly obvious.

    For me the most interesting question is why Red Nose, as an insider, is apparently passing info to a billionaire booky. I hadn’t considered the possibility that he would trade Utd games.

  • C4

    Thanks a mil, two thumbs up!

  • Anne


    Glad to see you back here. I always find your insights on this interesting.