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July 2021

How governments are taking over football

Game over. So say the governments.  By Adam Brogden

A lot of people are concentrating on corporations involving themselves in modern football and have missed governments moving in. Why is this? I do not have the answers for this (I will take a guess, later)  but would like to look at the main players.

In the hot sandy corner we have sheikh  Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan owner of  Manchester city, politician and member of the ruling family in the U.A.E.  His half brother is Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan who is president of the U.A.E. and has a reported family fortune of $7.5billion so can afford the odd portion of chips.  Back to these boys later.

In the cold snowy corner that can be Russia we have Gazprom and VTB Bank owners of Zenit st Petersburg & FC Dynamo Moscow.    Gazprom earned $45Billion last year but are also 50.01%  State owned.

VTB Bank 85.5% state owned have total assets amounting to $160 billion and most of their board hold government positions. So these chaps can afford to buy the chip shop that Khalifa frequents. More on these boys later as well.

United Arab Emirates. Main industry used to be pearling but that died a death and the states were up against it until the discovery of oil back in the 1960s. To date UAE’s  GDP is $300 billion.

Russia. Main industry:  Arms industry.  They are second only to the United states employing 2.5 million people in the manufacturing of weapons. 20% of all income can be traced back to armaments. Aircraft manufacturing is important as they sell Migs and Helicopters to EU countries including Slovakia, Germany, Poland (nice to know our borders are safe).

Oil reserves in Russia are some of the largest. As most people would know the oil and gas industry in Russia is massive. Russia’s GDP is a whopping $2.3 trillion so we can all look forward to a marvellous world cup in 2018 in the knowledge that their armed forces will not run out of fuel.

Enos Stanley “Stan” Kroenke. Majority share holder of our beloved temple also know as the Arsenal. Worth about $3.2 Billion so not in the same league as our “corporate government” lot above. He married into the Walton’s family who are worth a tad more at $200 Billion. But no government jobs for this lot.

Alisher Usmanov.   Oh where do I start. This mystery man from Uzbekistan use to or still does work for Gazprom, as we know Gazprom is Russian state owned and has a controlling interest in Zenit. From 1998 to 2000 he held the position of First Deputy General Director of Gazprominvestholding.

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From 2000 to 2001 Mr. Usmanov served as an adviser to the Chairman of Gazprom. As of February 2000 till present he serves as General Director of Gazprominvestholding. He is attached to or owns various mining companies as well as media based industries he is reported to be worth $18 billion. Is he a government man; of course he is.

Is there a conflict of interests with his links to Gazprom? I believe there is and this might be why the current board will not allow him to be on the board.  Back in 1995 he was made Adviser to the General Director of Moscow Aviation Industrial Enterprise (MAPO), MAPO later became the Russian Aircraft Company. This consolidation was however not very successful, and MAPO was later merged with Sukhoi.

Remember the Migs I was talking about? From 1995 to 1997 he was First Deputy Chairman of MAPO Bank. How long do we have to wait, to find out his/their intentions?

Why are these people involving themselves in football?  What benefit can they gain when they have to play against or with governments? For the time being Kroenke is in charge at Arsenal, but as I have shown above he is the poorer of the bunch.  What possesses the man to stick around when he knows what financial clout he’s up against?

To put things into perspective I’ll show the numbers in all there glory.

Arsenal.                  £650,000,000.  (What were worth approx).
Kroenke.              $3,200,000,000.
Zayed.                  $7,500,000,000.
Usmanov.           $18,000,000,000.
Gazprom.            $44,000,000,000.   (2011 only)
VTB Bank.        $160,000,000,000.
U.A.E.               $300,000,000,000.
Russia.       $230,000,000,000,000.

I can understand the Russians getting involved in the world cup bid, but to buy the clubs, build new stadiums, invest in players is too much interference. The UAE involved in Manchester City it seems to me is an advertising vehicle albeit a very expensive one.

But my point in all this is to show that Arsenal cannot compete financially with any of the above. Not when it is a nation’s government behind the club. Spend some f***ing money. Got to go to war first.



The single rule change that would change all football at a stroke

The man who re-wrote Arsenal’s history to suit himself

This is a moment that Arsenal should spend a little cash.  £100m anyone?

64 comments to How governments are taking over football

  • Gerry Lennon

    Did I miss your ‘guess’ as to why? I think it has to do with regulation. Business people can exploit this. Crooks can exploit this -see ‘money laudering articles – but governments? Well it depends on how much direct involvement they have, or is it just those placed in charge have freedom to indulge? Not beyond governments doing a bit of money laundering in order to channel funds into things they don’t want to be publicly associated with of course?
    Having somehow missed the previous article, which I thought might be linked – i.e. a rule that changes football clubs where you have to have a grandfather/grandmother who is a season ticket holder before you can invest in a club? LOL.
    However, it was more about ‘practical’ matters on the pitch. So my belated rule change(using the above to slip it in) would be an 80 minute siren that signals the end of tactical substitutions. Any player substituted after the siren would be assume to be injured and so misses their next match. Another annoying time wasting practice out of the window?

  • ziggy

    This is why we have to back what we have and give them confidence rsther than the morale sapping buy buy buy we keep spouting. On this evidence we can only afford average players and some if our so called ‘dross’ are above average, but some people would rather we got rid of our above average dross for an uproven in PL average player with a fancy name because their names are being mentioned by the press. We however dont even know how much influence their agents have had in their names being mentioned 24/7. With the Euros the reality I hope will hit home.

  • nicky

    “For the time being Kroenke is in charge at Arsenal”.
    Although the majority shareholder, I see no evidence that the “Quiet One” controls our Club.He is on the Board but to me that’s as far as it goes….at present.
    The danger,IMO, would arise if Usmanov seeks to challenge the Yank in a fight for shares.

  • WalterBroeckx

    If I was a rich man tadatidatadatida tadatidadiridom…

    Now I have lost all hope for football. When the biggest crooks of them all (=politicians) are involved…

  • Bro

    The only reason Usmanov is not on the board and not owning Arsenal at the moment is the interest-conflict between Hill-Wood and Usmanov… Hill-Wood is or was also on the board of a Mining Holding in Russia/Uzbekistan and was Usmanov’s competitor. It’s more like there’s a conflict of interest on our board…

  • Rhyle

    There’s some pretty simple, non-corrupt reasons as to why governments want their domestic teams to be successful. Is it good for the game? That’s a subjective matter – personally…no, but far from the end of the world. As for investing in foreign teams, there’s some good, non-corrupt reasons for that, too.

    – Look at the money paid in to the top teams around Europe in terms of prizes from CL. That’s a nice little boost to the economy as corporations still pay corporation tax on their earnings…unless you’re Man City, that is…whereby you’re run at a loss and probably pay no corp tax…
    – And it’s not just the CL – look at the global branding of leagues like Serie A, the PL and La Liga…investing in a few top drawer domestic side and making them successful in Europe will make their domestic league more marketable.
    – The long term deals (TV, sponsorship) that have been thrown around for the top clubs has made them one of the few recession-proof businesses in the world. There are now three certainties in life: death, taxes, and that people will pay to be connected to top, top footballers, whether as a fan or a sponsor.
    – Anyone who goes to Arsenal will have seen it – hundreds of tourists descending on the Emirates for their once in a lifetime trip to the Emirates. Do they come to the UK purely for the game or are they likelier to spend a week or two here soaking up the other excellent facilities and attractions that London / the UK has to offer? Having successful football teams boosts your attraction as a tourist destination. This, again, for me is part of the reason for the new owners at Man City investing – a cash-rich country seeking to raise the profile of their nation on the world stage. Nothing says “friendly” like throwing money at a football team. Let’s face it, most people have probably learned more about the UAE in the last 2/3 years than they did in ten times as many years previously…

    For me, it’s not a huge issue at this stage as I believe that the investment, both foreign & domestic, private & governmental, is a function of the further globalisation of all industries, including sports.

    I also believe, however, that having a few mega-rich sides, only a few successful sides, only a few truly marketable sides will mean that, increasingly, there will be a desire from both sponsors and owners to maximise their brand’s potential and will leave you with this thought:

    If there is so much money in football and marketing considerations are increasingly becoming the most important…what value is there in the long term for the PL? Who wants to pay to watch West Ham v Wigan Athletic when you could have Coca Cola presents the European Football Ultimate Mega Excellent League title being competed for by only those uber-clubs? If you want a big picture…where this could all lead…for me, at least…it’s that.

    When you think about it…could be another reason for the Forbes boys and governments to spend their money on their teams…that’s a table everyone will want to be dining at…

  • Anne

    So, I’m sorry, but who the fuck are you? And what the fuck are you getting at with this article? And more precisely, what exactly do you mean by the following?

    “But my point in all this is to show that Arsenal cannot compete financially with any of the above. Not when it is a nation’s government behind the club. Spend some f***ing money. Got to go to war first.

    This is a moment that Arsenal should spend a little cash.”

    You don’t need to answer the above question. And I’m quite tired right now, so I apologize if I have somehow misunderstood you. However, to me, the above gives the impression that you are threatening Arsenal for money.

    Tony? Walter? How did this end up on our site, please?

  • Rhyle

    Anne…that last line is from the “Latest” section and not part of the article…it’s part of the title of an earlier post…

    Still…remind me never to cross you!

  • Anne

    I’ve been told i misunderstood this. i hope i did. if so, sorry.

  • bob

    What’s your source for this? (any link?)
    “Hill-Wood is or was also on the board of a Mining Holding in Russia/Uzbekistan and was Usmanov’s competitor. It’s more like there’s a conflict of interest on our board.” And what are you saying in asserting this? You’ve dropped some knowledge here, or you’ve done a drive by… but what is it you are saying? The standard here is research transparency, so be transparent about this, would you?

  • bob

    Please clarify some of this for readers like me:
    A de facto merger of corporation and state characterizes the entity that you are discussing here. Seems that it’s not as simple as government-involvement versus corporate-involvement, as the title and thrust of your article seems to argue. Are you against this generalized corporate-government entity being ousted from football; or is it just the (evil) Russian form of it, as opposed say, to the (tourism-only) UAE form of it?

  • bob

    sorry, Adam: grammatically speaking, I meant to write above: “being involved in football” [– NOT being ousted from football]

  • bob

    And Adam, what do you make of Bro’s comment?:
    “Hill-Wood is or was also on the board of a Mining Holding in Russia/Uzbekistan and was Usmanov’s competitor. It’s more like there’s a conflict of interest on our board…”

  • Spartan, a black coat labrador

    I nominate Anne for today`s oik award! Hopefully they are not only reserved for visitors.@ Ziggy I agree with your sentiments regarding building our players but I wouldn’t call Walcott, RvP , Jack, Rambo, Verminator etc “above average” .I think excellent is the right word.

  • bob

    And, sorry for my off-topicality, but it is topical to the max: that is, speaking of Hill-Wood, does anyone have a thought on the meaning of his weekend pronouncement (or was it Friday, but in any case) that AFC will NOT pay upwards of 250K per week for RvP? Is this an invitation to the Behemoths to line up? Is it to prepare the fan-base for what he/the Board want? No way to know, but the silence on this hereabouts is a bit odd to say the least.

  • Jerry


    Not sure of what Bro is talking about in regards to Hill-Wood, did a quick google search for “Peter Hill-Wood Mining” and got this article:

    Not sure how reliable goonertalk is or not. It talks about it half way down after the pic of David Dein:

    “From June, 2003, to May, 2011, Hill-Wood served as a non-executive director of Petropavlovsk PLC (formerly Peter Hambro Mining PLC) operating in the Amur Region, Russian Far East. Pavel Maslovskiy was one of the founders and also CEO in the company.”

    I think that guy was a co-owner with one of Hill-Wood’s friends also or something along those lines. Not sure if it’s Usmanov’s competitor or not though either.

    In regards to his wage comment, he says dumb things sometimes just like everyone else. I’m pretty sure RVP won’t go to another EPL club, atleast that’s what supposedly everyone else in his family is saying.

    In regards to the owners and countries getting involved, I support Arsenal for the way they play, not who owns them. I personally could care less who the owner is/where from. Just want to support my team and see them playing the right way and hopefully the trophies will come soon with better reffing and less injury problems.

  • bob

    Cheers, Jerry.
    That article is really interesting. There’s a lot to digest and will take my time with it. I’d love to know more about who wrote it in order to better understand.

  • iniez

    Re your comment at 3:12, I agree it strikes me as odd that he would come out and say something like that. Kind of like his earlier comments about how we plan “not to qualify for cl football but it would be nice”. Can’t say I have any concrete ideas on why he would make such a statement but they’re either strategic statements, or he’s just the kind of person that says exactly what’s on his mind without quite thinking into it too much. The latter seems innocuous enough, but it’s the former that worries me..Why would he be so eager to show his cards? Could it be a some kind of “mind game” with van persie (though mind game might not be the best way to put it). Maybe it’s as you say, an invitation for potential suitors, some kind of a pre-emptive damage control, to avoid a cesc-esque scenario, though cesc only had one club in mind while vp would have a decent line up. Very odd to me honestly. I feel a man in his position wouldn’t throw words around willy nilly. It’s no coincidence that when we faced the possibility of no cl football that he comes out saying we’re prepared for such a scenario (even though it was still early in the season if I remember right). Don’t know..but it’s hard to ignore statements like that. Still, I have my hopes that vp is going nowhere, he’s nothing like cesc

  • Adam

    I promise to get to all your comments, And answer them if i have the answers. However there is the little matter of England Vs France.
    @Anne This article has more to do with Usmanov and his links to the Russian government than anything else. Please research Craig Murray before you execute me.

  • Rhyle

    Adam – I like Craig Murray’s work…but you’re going to get Notoverthehill all upset…lol… he seems to be a fan of Alisher Usmanov’s lawyers and has laid out some impassioned evidence in favour of the Russian…be interesting to see what you make of what he’s written in the past…

  • bob

    So Rhyle, you do have seem to have time to trawl the UA archives on what’s Usmanov related (Notoverthehill’s comments) but have somehow missed the body of evidence around allegations of conscious refshite for which you have no time? To each his own, but it is a matter of how we choose to spend our time – or not – n’est-ce pas?

  • Rhyle

    No, Bob, they were brought to my attention. Someone literally directed me to them. ‘Co’s…i couldn’t be bothered to trawl through the archives and someone actually understood that…

  • Rhyle

    Oh…and COMPLETELY AGREE…it is up to you what you think, say, do, don’t do, etc…

  • bob

    p.s. sorry, Rhyle, that was petty of me, but I really do wish you’d be more enterprising in trawling the archives here. then again, perhaps Walter & Team’s forthcoming report will prove sufficient grounds for a more specific debate/consensus on what’s rotten in the state of denmark (other than nick b.)

  • Rhyle

    no harm, no foul Bob – I get that I kinda ask for that sort of thing now and again!

    I have had a good nose around, particularly when someone’s linked to something pertinent, but it’d take a serious investment of time as I’m sure you appreciate. I’m not the sort to come back after a day claiming to have read the entire internet and be some kind of omniscient UA ubergeek. I’d rather be honest about it and hold my hands up…it’s unlikely to happen!

    As an aside – and bearing in mind that England v France game is on. It’d be great if those in charge could open up a post just for comments during a game. Always interested to hear how other people are viewing the game…

  • Adam

    @Nicky. I value your opinion always and agree with you. Stan only on paper rules.

  • Adam

    @WalterBroeckx. Don’t lose hope. “Hope is a wonderful thing”. Steven King.(Shawshank).

  • Adam

    @Bro. Was Hillwood inthe employment of the British government whilst trying to pillage the resources of Uzbekistan.

  • Adam

    @Rhyle. What % is corporation tax due?

  • Rhyle

    Main rate for this year is 24%.

  • Adam

    Also @Rhyle. Are you a one world government advocate?

  • Adam

    @Bob. June 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm.
    As far as im aware the IMF have asked the Russians to move away from state ownership, which is happening slowly. But there are too many well placed & wealthy Russian/Ukrainian/uzbeks people out there with state links.

  • Rhyle

    In the utopian sense, yes…but how likely is that?! Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely and the truth is that there will always be some corruption, abuse and serious mistakes at all levels…so it’s always likely to lead to a dystopian version!

    The truth is it’s an impracticality – how do you consolidate Shariah Law, amongst other variables, with Western values to come up with a global federal charter as to how it’d be run? Europe / the Eurozone is struggling to maintain a single currency due to the disparate nature of it’s economies…can you imagine stretching that out to capture all nations? Except that weird one that 2 blokes and a dog established on the oil rig in the North Sea…they’re not playing with anyone…

    So you’re left with nation states, operating under one government but with a multitude of fiscal and legal frameworks…with that in mind, there will always be distinct advantages of operating in one country versus another – with the few benefitting, as always…so what’s the point?!

  • Adam

    @Rhyle. It use to be 9%.

  • bob

    So Adam, the problem for you is state links; not that Hill Wood might have pillaged without restraint as a free enterpriser? Is that really what you are saying? That one is Ok and the other is not? Please clarify.

  • bob

    How do you know that Stan rules only on paper? How is that knowable? How can anyone here be that fly on the wall, or bug in the phone line? You might be right or not, but saying you agree with Nicky doesn’t make it so.

  • Adam

    Bob, No, not at all. (June 11, 2012 at 6:36 pm) trying to stay on topic. Hillwood it would appear has gained his advantage through his own works. Not through an ants nest.

  • bob

    No man is an island, not PHW, not you, not me, not Rhyle :).

  • Shard

    How much corporation tax do you pay if you declare losses?

  • bob

    When Yeltsin came in, he helped the apparatchiks have a fire sale and privatize state property. That’s the history. As I understand it, there were greater or lesser degrees of attachment to the Yeltsin and post-Yeltsin successor state. Now for PHW to get in there to do his mining; or for Usmanov to get in their to do his mining, both were doing their self-interested best to make or increase their fortunes. Whatever one may think of either path toward the same end, what is it that makes the difference when it comes to Arsenal? Are you actually saying that Usmanov is a Trojan Horse for the evil intentions of the Russian state? Are you also actually saying that PHW (presumably not Silent Stan) is committed to greater re-investment into AFC whereas Usmanov is into sheer plunder? And on what evidence in each case? Now I admit to being a bit dense on this stuff, but please make yourself clearer for me, so that even I can understand your point better.

  • Matt Clarke


    I’m sure that Adam will reply for himself, but in the meantime…

    …my point in all this is to show that Arsenal cannot compete financially with any of the above”

    right near then end of the article.

  • bob

    Gee Thanks, Matt. I can read it Ok; but then there’s what I keep reading between the lines. Again, I could be denser that even I thought, but I must ask, given your literal reading (with italics too!) of Adam’s finale: Are you actually seriously saying that we simply cannot compete with the 230 Trillion dollar Russian government’s resources?; and, presumably, that some chunk of this insuperable amount is being funneled through Usmanov? Just to clarify, is that what you’re lending your weight to? And on what evidence? I don’t mind being right or wrong on this. But just to understand what’s being alleged.

  • Adam

    Bob. I cannot take you all on a journey of discovery. You all have to find your own truth. What my intention is/was to give you the ideas to research for yourselves. Re-read the article and start again.

  • Adam

    Matt. I hope the Russian government involvement in their clubs(literally theirs) only stretches to 2018. But history tells us other wise, however times are changing.

  • Adam

    So no one interested in Usmanovs links with Gazprom, Russian armaments or there government.

  • Matt Clarke

    You’re being saracstic towards someone who was just trying to help you understand.
    And, no – me pointing that out does not mean that I am lending my weight to any theory – pfft.
    An so what if I use italics? Get a grip Bob.

  • bjtgooner

    Adam, it may be the case that some clubs have access to easy money on the basis of their overly wealthy owners. However, that is not the whole story. Arsenal have been outspent by United and Chelsea for some time and recently by City – probably also by Spurs and Liverpool. On reflection, over the last 8-9 years most EPL clubs have outspent Arsenal in the transfer market. Can Arsenal compete – yes we can. Why? Because we have a manager who knows how to build a team and who does not have to spend huge sums on mercenaries.

    I also like the way Arsenal conduct themselves in the marketplace, there is a high degree of morality which some other clubs could learn from.

  • bob

    Matt Clarke,
    Sorry, then. No problem. I missed your intention there.

  • Matt Clarke

    And I am sorry for completely misunderstanding your level of understanding of the article (and responding inappropriately). – it was obviously way above mine. ANd sorry for the stroppy response. And sorry to Adam for distracting from the post. Damn. I’m gonna have a lie down.

  • bob

    Matt Clarke,
    Come back soon, mate! We need you. It’s all hands on deck. 🙂

  • Notoverthehill


    Постоянный адрес статьи :

    this is a site giving a better insight of Mr A B Usmanov’s portfolio!

  • I’ve also found this:

    Not read it as it’s late – might be worth a read.

  • Adam

    @Notoverthehill. Any chance of a translation.

  • Rhyle

    Adam – run it through Google Translate…don’t tell you’re still using Explorer?!

  • Adam

    Cheers will try it now. Thankyou.

  • bob

    Why not post the translation for readers here, so anyone can assess it. It would be a good service as this divide has come up in the past on UA and then vanished into thin air.

  • Adam

    Usmanov. One of the richest civil servants in history.

  • Adam

    Bob. I read through the translation and to be honest it meant nothing to me.

  • Bro

    Sorry for not providing any Soruce as I’m not a regular reader here, but that’s what I was referring to:

  • My link is actually very interesting – just read it this morning:

    You should really check it out as it is well worth a read… quite long though.

  • Matt Clarke


    That whole article is interesting, although the article authors do not give much away about themselves (just the promise to tell the truth etc about Russian mafia).

    It is all depressing reading.

  • Notoverthehill


    Look at the top middle bar. THERE you will find Translate, and English, then one can turn back to the original!

    Translators are confined to one meaning, rather like whole Numbers! In plain language, mind the cul-de-sacs!

    Russian Mafia is American based. Like the Iraqi crew, based on the 52 playing cards. Treat with Care. You are being warned!

  • Notoverthehill

    Tony, forgive me. The article is too long for the translating bar to work: Here goes for what it is worth:

    [Please do not cut/paste entire articles – the link you supplied is fine thankyou]


    Permanent address:

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