Does Chelsea shake when the USA uses the language of the AAA?

By Tony Attwood

Does Chelsea shake when the USA uses the language of the AAA?

Or come to that does Liverpool worry that no statement from the club will ever be believed again after the admitted lying over Suarez’ contract?  Do Rangers fans worry that their club has to pay 30% p.a. interest on a guaranteed loan?  Do Cardiff fans worry that their owner doesn’t know the PL’s rules?  (And I haven’t started on Birmingham yet).

But to go back to Chelsea, obviously the west is not at this moment freezing the assets of Russian citizens which are held in banks and elsewhere in the west.   But the threat of such a move was made by Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday.

Because of the instability of the Russian currency (recently in freefall following the invasion of the Crimea) holding one’s wealth outside of the Federation is ever more attractive for Russian citizens, and that includes Roman Abramovich who of course has sizeable investments in the west.

In the most bizarre and perhaps unlikely scenario a decision to freeze the assets of Russians in the UK could mean the seizing of Chelsea FC.  Unlikely of course, and utterly dependent on Russia seeking to make its military excursion into Ukraine permanent, but still possible.

Of course if the assets of Americans in the UK were to be frozen Arsenal would suffer the same fate, but if the freezing of Chelsea’s assets is unlikely, the event that the UK might fall out with America seems off the scale.

It does however raise the eternal problem – does it matter who owns all or part of your club?

It may seem hypothetical but the fact is that Kerry said. “Russia has major investment and trade needs and desires. I think there’s a unified view by all of the foreign ministers I talked with yesterday, all of the G-8 and more, that they’re simply going to isolate Russia, that they’re not going to engage with Russia in a normal, business as usual manner, that Russia is inviting opprobrium on the international stage.

“There could even be, ultimately, asset freezes, visa bans. There could be certainly disruption of any of the normal trade routine. There could be business drawback on investment in the country. The ruble is already going down and feeling the impact of this.”

Incidentally the sort of language that the AAA use over Arsene Wenger is also part of US politics now, as when the Republican Mike Rogers said, “Putin is playing chess and I think we are playing marbles, and I don’t think it’s even close.  They’ve been running circles around us.”  He ought  to write a football blog.

Meanwhile we have the case of Carson Yeung – a man approved by the Premier League as a “fit and proper person” when he led the take over of   Birmingham City in 2009,

We’ve covered the story of Yeung and his trial in Hong Kong off and on, and he has now been found guilty of money-laundering.  The judge described Yeung as an habitual liar.

Birmingham fans might feel that is true after Yeung’s promise of £80m worth of investment into the club never turned up.  Although maybe the fact that before making that promise Yeung had been a hairdresser and a professional gambler might have told David Sullivan and David Gold that they were dealing with a crook.  Still there’s no law against selling things to a crook, only buying them from a crook.

Now we might think that this would be the end of Yeung in terms of Birmingham but not a bit of it.Yeung’s company still runs and will continue to control Birmingham City FC.  And that’s what links Birmingham with Chelsea.  For just as the UK government could conceivably freeze Chelsea FC as being the assets of a Russian national, so the Hong Kong justice authority could seize Yeung’s company and effectively Birmingham City FC (of which Yeung is still the largest shareholder.)    Also on the board are Yeung’s 20-year-old son and Yeung’s brother in law – not the most powerful force to stand up to the might of the Hong Kong legislature.

The other problem for Birmingham is that it (like Rangers in Glasgow, who as we recently reported are so desperate for cash they are paying 30% p.a. interest on a loan which is guaranteed by the club’s assets) needs additional funding if it is to “continue its operations for at least 12 months”, (according to the club’s most recent accounts).   The latest plan is a £7m placing of shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange and a borrowing of £24m from a Chinese property developer.  Hmmmm.

Of course things are done differently in different parts of the world.  Russia, China, Scotland, Liverpool (I do wonder if anyone will ever again take a statement by Liverpool seriously after the admission by its owner that they openly lied to the media and Arsenal about the contract of their disturbed centre forward…)

And there is the case of Vincent Tan, who it is now suggested but not proven offered Cardiff players a £3.7m bonus to beat Tottenham.  This is against Premier League rules that say rather clearly that all bonuses must be issued before the start of the season.

This story comes from those old Euro hating right wingers at the Daily Mail who say that Mr Tan spoke to his players at the Hilton Hotel and said he was bringing in the new tactic of “shooting more” before announcing the incentive of the new bonus.

A spokesman for Mr Tan then said, “We didn’t realise it was against regulations. Vincent Tan has now rescinded the offer.”

Pesky things these invasions, courts, foreign governments, lies, regulations and bankruptcies.  No telling where they will take you.


35 Replies to “Does Chelsea shake when the USA uses the language of the AAA?”

  1. And yet the AAA would welcome any or all of these dodgy owners if promised a trophy.

  2. Not to mention teams that are sponsored by Russian companies – Schalke and Gazprom come to mind – which could see their sponsorship income drastically reduced by means of either freezing the companies’ foreign bank accounts, or simply because of an embargo.

  3. Yes Mike,
    I’m sure the usual suspects will have lauded Birmingham and Yueng when they won the league cup a few years ago for their leadership and how that is the way to do it.

  4. I’m not so sure that if USA assets would be frozen it would hurt Arsenal that much. I might be wrong but as Kroenke just owns the shares he might not be able to sell them at the time but it wouldn’t influence our daily operations.
    For teams that run on losing money it might be a bigger problem as the owner would not be able to fund the losses.

    I even think that even if Kroenke would die tomorrow (please don’t) it wouldn’t influence us that much. We are not dependent on the well being of one person. The club can run itself in a way of speaking.

  5. I havent looked deep into this Crimea thing. Is Russia doing anything different compared US (Afghanistan and Iraq)

  6. You’re in the right direction with your thinking, but please remember any asset freeze will be that of Russian government. I highly doubt assets of Russian citizens will be under threat unless things go to all out war (in which case hell may break loose).

    Having said that, Russians billionaires will surely feel the pinch and restrictions in doing business overseas.

  7. So remind he who owns just about a third of Arsenal shares?

    Unless I am misreading this article and in view of the fact that you mention, in the main, foreign owners its difficult to read it any other way than there being a clear suggestion that foreign is often worse English/ British is better meaning the article is either xenophobic or at best very close to being to it

    I really don’t want to get into the politics but if the UK were to take such actions be sure and buy some extra candles as one thing is sure without Russian energy we wont be able to heat or light up the country.

  8. ARSENAL 13,

    I don’t think that Tony’s piece is about the politics of the invasion. I think it is about the implications of the Western allies – led by the US – to it, in terms of how it may affect clubs being run with Russian money. This is the problem with sole ownership and funding.

    Whatever happens to Kroenke, we can all agree that Arsenal is not really going to feel the pain, thanks to the self sustaining model on which the club is being run.

  9. @MikeT,
    You are quite right, the US need reminding Europe and China also have “major investment and trade needs and desires”. Putin could be forgiven for wanting rid of a distabilising influence so close, but if reports are to be believed, then most of Europe should be thankful the fascists taking over Ukraine are not having it all their own way.IMHO.

  10. @Tony,
    Oooh to be a Bank manager in a tax haven this week, Ooh to be a a..

  11. Well, this post – justified as it is – shows that sometimes the right examples must be chosen.

    As a Wenger supporting site, the notion, or even insinuation, that one of the best managers in football’s history (Wenger) is compared to one of the shittiest presidents of the united states – is truly beyond me.

  12. OFF TOPIC: strange…. Tuesday and still no sign of who will be the referee of our FA cup match.
    It will certainly not be Dean (sigh of relief) or Probert (double sigh of relief) But still in contention… Taylor (aaarghhh) and Mason (aaaaarghh when Everton is around).
    Even Dowd would feel like a good choice now….

    I think the PGMOL is saving up Dean and Atkinson for the Tottenham, City and Chelsea matches by the way… If you know what I mean…

  13. Ugandan Goon @ 11.41

    From the Manchester Gruniad:

    “Ayre praised FSG as “smart investors” who continue to invest in Liverpool, with loans, “to realise the true value of their investment long term”

    Loans with a sweet interest charge? Smart investors? I guess they are.


    Mrs Putin spills the beans

    The loyal, long-suffering, ex-wife of Russia’s President Vlad ‘The Impaler’ Putin has finally snapped and given reporters a brief glimpse into the divorce that ended the couple’s 30-year marriage.

    ‘The last straw came when my husband decided to have a penis extension,’ Lyudmilla Putin revealed.

    ‘After that I just couldn’t take it any longer.’

  15. Russians say the darnest things !

    Till Death Us Do Part Russian-Style.
    Russian police have interviewed a Moscow man about the mysterious death of his wife of 30 years after finding her mummified corpse in the couple’s apartment.

    ‘I tell you I am completely innocent,’ Dmitry Hackov said, ‘I had absolutely no idea she was dead.’

    ‘Surely you were aware of some subtle changes about the house?’ the interrogating police officer replied.

    ‘Well, not really,’ Hackov answered, ‘the sex was still the same although I did wonder why the dishes had begun piling up in the sink.’

  16. Sanctions? Asset freezes? Let me see. EU and UK bankers and hedge fund managers are competing with Singapore and Hong Kong for Russian billions. With continued influx of capital already factored in their profit projections and stock price. That would hurt their bottom line big time. Russian oligarchs would just write off the losses and move on with their assets well diversified.

  17. Well, seems it’s the other way around, anyway – from what I read, Putin has instructed the forces that took part in the “manouvers” near the Ukrainian borders, to return to their bases…

    And in other, “unrelated” news – Russian stock exchange lost USD 60 billion in a single day.

    So who is calling the shots? Putin, or the Oligarchs who lost quite a lot of money?

    Just a point to think about, dog wagging tail, and that.

  18. Small investors are the only ones who really lose if markets go down. It is just a paper money anyway. The real assets do not change with market fluctuations.

  19. I understand that Bootoomee. But what I am saying is that, issue aside, the implications too will be political in nature and not financial……

    Can financial industry based economies afford to loose Russian investment.

  20. This debate is all very interesting but as Andrei cleverly pointed out, the real losers in this charade are the small investors and market players whose pensions and investments are bandied about like coins in a slot machine. Don’t forget the house ALWAYS wins. Politics aside, I really doubt that the Ukranians and the Russians will come to blows as the international fallout would be massive and do collateral damage beyond measure. As far as Football goes, all win continue as normal….the real powers behind the FA,UEFA,FIFA and other institutions will ensure the rich get richer and the poor remain subservient. Why do you think the ¨fit and proper¨ rules are so blatantly ignored or twisted?

  21. A democratic country paying the price fighting a communist country because it used to be a republic country. History repeats itself.

  22. Mike T has nailed it…Russia provides 1/4 of the gas needs of Europe ergo Europe will stamp about but probably do nothing until the weather warms up. Maybe that global warming thing wasn’t such a bad thing after all…I’ll get my coat. 😉

  23. I do think Russia and Europe need each other. What good is Russia having all that gas when Europe wouldn’t buy it? If we don’t buy their gas then their income will drop a lot and they sure wouldn’t like that to happen also.

    By coincidence just read in a newspaper that the economy in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) is slowing down or can we use the term melting down?

    A tree shouldn’t just try to grow in to the sky without growing its base first.


  24. Had a difficult time trying to come on to this site.Had to come here after logging on to the History of Arsenal site and after having to register there .

  25. The worst part of the site being not completely available was missing my daily morning jokes…. I’m pissed off by this… need something to laugh…. 😉

  26. Ok ,Walter ,here’s the jokes for today .All because someone posted on another article if AW would re-sign or resign .Have fun.

    Baby, Soon to be born from London, Quits Womb
    Why did you resign?
    Impending birth

    What are you going to do next?
    Bawl, poo, gurgle, puke

    Dear mother,

    After nine months tenure as your unborn child, I feel it’s high time to quit my current (foetal) position and head out into the real world. I should let you know now that events almost conspired to compel my departure last month, but I decided at the time that such a course of action would have been premature. My quarters have been somewhat cramped for a while now and I feel that I have been kept in the dark about, well, everything.

    All that remains is to blow that thick white mucus out of my face holes and I’ll be out of here. You’ll probably have the last laugh as I scream my tiny fluid-filled lungs out when my arse is soundly slapped by an anonymous medic. I hope we will be able to maintain cordial relations over the next two decades or so.

    Your sincerely,


    PS I should let you know in confidence that my colleague Mr Placenta is likely to quit the womb shortly after my severance.

  27. Sorry, Walter, this isn’t going to be a joke!

    Tony, I don’t think we are witnessing an ‘invasion of the Ukraine’ by Russia. There are already Russian troops in the Crimea because it has a huge naval base there. Ukraine and Russia have an agreement that Russia can have up to 16,000 troops there because of that. With the chaos in Ukraine and appointment of a US-chosen unelected government, which appears to include neo-Nazi elements, Russia must have genuine concerns.

    Until 1954, when Khrushchev for some reason handed it over to Ukraine, Crimea was part of Russia. Of course this was not a problem when they were both part of the Soviet Union.

    The West is intent on trying to deprive Russia of its warm water ports; the break up of Yugoslavia meant Russian ally Serbia became land-locked; the war on Syria threatened to deprive Russia of its one Mediterranean port; and now there is the possible threat to the Russian naval base in Crimea. This is because the Western rich see Russia as a competitor and also would like to get their hands on Russia’s natural wealth. And Ukraine’s.

    We do not need to see the Russian people as our enemies even thought the mass media would like us to. The Soviet Union was our ally in the Second World War, played a decisive role in defeating Hitler and lost more than twenty million people doing it. The interests of the British people, as opposed to the British rich, are with peace and co-existence with all nations in the world, not war.


    The UK imports most of it’s gas/energy from Norway and the Neo-Maharaja of Qatar, after having blown it’s own reserves upon tax cuts as opposed to investments in infrastructure, industry etc. (Genius! Worthy of a statue eh? Or maybe not. No. Destroying the water table aka: ‘fracking it all up’ is not the way forward)

    My best guess (tbf it’s not a very good guess!) would be that the oily Oligarch’s out there (and lest we forget, here) are rubbing their hands with glee at their current prospects.

  29. Once a upon a time ,in a land not too far away from all the action….not too long ago…

    Still more East Block Humor (East Germany)

    I heard this one a few years ago in East Germany…
    Erich Honnecker (the president of East Germany) was invited to Moscowby Gorbachev for a visit.
    After weeks of preparation by Gorby,Honnecker arrives in Moscow. As part of of celebration activities,
    there is a big parade through the streets of Moscow.
    While the two are watching the parade, Gorbachev takes a small boyaside and asks him, “Who is your mother?” The child replies, “Mother Russia.” “And who is your father?” asks Gorbachev. The boy answers,
    “Why, it’s you Uncle Gorbachev!”
    Finally Gorbachev asks the boy, “and what do you want to be when you grow up?” The boy proudly replies, “a good communist!”
    Erich Honnecker, meanwhile, has been watching this and is very impressed. So impressed, that he decides to invite Gorbachev to [East] Berlin for a visit. Again, after weeks of preparation, Gorbachev’s plane lands in Berlin. And again, part of the celebration
    includes a parade.
    Remembering what Gorbachev did in Moscow, Honnecker repeats the scene: He asks a little boy in the crowd, “Who is your mother?” The childreplies “the GDR [German Democratic Republic-East Germany].” “And
    who is your father?” asks Honnecker. “Why, it’s you Uncle Honnecker!” replies the child. “And what do you want to be when you grow up?” queries Honnecker. Without hesitation, the boy replies, “an orphan !”

  30. @ Pat are you for real?!

    The Russians had a 20 years hiatus of playing their favorite role in the world: the BAD GUY.

    Crimea was, for the best part of its history, an independent / soverign autonomy.

    And it really does not matter why the USSR decided that Crimea will be part of the Ukraine: it did, and for 50 years it has been a part of the Ukraine.

    Saying that all Russia did was “protect its interests” is the same narrative Sadam used when he invaded Kuwait. It’s the narrative of all invaders. Trust me, when Israel took over the west bank, there were a lot more “interests” to be protected…

    But to say that the Russians were England’s ALLIES is either truly ignorant or it shows that you have an agenda: Hitler and Stalin were allies, up until the point where Hitler double crossed Stalin (Ribentrop-Molotov, does it ring a bell?)

    The 20 million russians that died, by the way, in WW2, are similar to the 20 million killed by Stalin…

    And to sum it up – everybody’s interest is peace. That’s actually exactly what Neville Chamberlain said, when he bent over and let Hitler screw him up. Putin is a very dangerous man, and coping out to him will lead to much bigger problems, in the very near future.

  31. Pat is right actually. The neoconservatives in USA are extremely dangerous to the world. Putin is a very great man and leader

  32. Lot’s of bears where I live. Rule of thumb…don’t run from a bear…back up slowly saying calming words.

    Ukraine may or may not like being so close to the Putin’s Russia but running away is not likely an option. Finland was in the same situation in 1944 and had to come to an accomodation with Stalin.

  33. Sounds like the oligarchs might be next targets for sanctions and asset freeze imposition, as reported by the Telegraph today. The paper singled out abramovich and usmanov. Not sure what this would mean for both clubs though, but think it’d make things slightly interesting for many.

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