I was surprised to see over the last week or so, some prominent and usually ultra-skeptical Hull City AFC fans talking as if the takeover of Hull City was a formality.
I was not surprised to read that it has either collapsed or hit a stumbling block – I have not quite worked out which – seemingly due to a failure of the Premier League’s fit and proper persons test.
Business in China is somewhat opaque and though there has been some work on discovering the business interests of the two main figures at the head of the take-over deal, it seemed that there were others involved in the deal, perhaps of which were stumping up more of the funds.
Looking into the Premier League fit and proper persons test, it seems to be centred around whether individuals have filed for bankruptcy, have owned clubs that have suffered financial difficulties, or have broken laws concerning theft, fraud, money laundering, tax evasion – and those kind of offences.
There are allegations out there of money laundering involving what seems to be a legitimate company that the two main figures are involved in. I’d take it bag of salt given that it comes from one of those “Truth” websites but still, there might be something in it.
As much as I want rid of the Allams yesterday, we do not want to be lumbered with new owners that are equally disrespectful of the fan-base, of the history and of the culture of the club – especially ones with a dubious background. These potential owners had already renamed one football club.
Any new owner should be welcomed cautiously – remember the hero worshipping of Tim Wilby’s arrival? For as much as the vast majority of us dislike the Allams – there are far worse people out there. The Allams may be vile, disrespectful, unpleasant – but they are not quite on the level of the owner of Blackpool, for example, nor are they criminals.
This was always going to be a long game to get rid of the Allams, it was never going to take 24 hours no matter what some might say.
The good news is that there will be more potential owners – especially from China.
Xi Jinping, the president of China, has made football a national priority for his country. He wants to build a huge sports industry in his country, which includes wanting to host the World Cup by 2030, and winning the World Cup not long after. You may scoff about that idea but I was watching Chinese football earlier and there were some nifty players – it was a much higher quality than I expected. And they had a virgin banging a drum too.
Buying a football club will allow a Chinese businessman/woman to move money out of China with implied permission from the Chinese government, and also will offer some form of escape from the clutches of the law, with the ongoing corruption clampdown – that is – if they can actually get past the rules of the Premier League.
If this current deal is a gonner, we can expect our club to be bought in the coming months – assuming, of course, that the Allams really do want to sell it. My lack of trust of the Allams allows me to envisage a situation in 6 months where they can say “well, we tried to sell it”.
They do want to sell it, don’t they?