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(Alleged) Transfer Dodginess at West Brom


JfR
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"A senior executive at West Bromwich Albion attempted to negotiate a £25 million transfer deal that would have broken Fifa regulations, avoided tax in China and possibly the UK, and enabled the English club’s Chinese majority shareholder and owner to keep some of the proceeds of the sale."

The article's behind a paywall, unfortunately, but the crux of the story is as follows:

  • West Brom reportedly wanted to get some money in for players in January under Allardyce, and Matheus Pereira was considered a player that could be sold to raise funds. A potential destination for a move would have been to the Chinese Super League.
  • There were some issues that surrounded such a move, however, chiefly that any Chinese club signing a foreign player at a cost of 45m Chinese yuan (about £5m) or more would have to make an equivalent donation of funds to China's youth development fund. The article reports that West Brom wanted around £25m for Pereira.
  • Naturally, any Chinese club would be reluctant to pay this knowing they had to pay the same again in the form of a donation (effectively making Pereira actually cost £50m to the buying club).

This is where the alleged dodginess comes in. As the article reports:

  • Luke Dowling, until a fortnight ago West Brom's technical and sporting director, contacted an agent with links to an unnamed Chinese club about potentially conducting a transfer of Pereira. He suggested a way around the restrictions.
  • Rather than to pay all of the money directly to West Brom, and to record the transfer in full on FIFA's transfer system, he suggested that the Chinese club would pay a fee of less than £5m directly to West Brom. The remaining money would be transferred outside of this system from the Chinese club's owner to the West Brom's Chinese (and crucially Chinese-based) owner Lai Guochuan, possibly through other businesses that they own. This would also allow Guochuan the potential to keep some of the transfer fee for himself.
  • Perhaps most importantly within this story is the fact that Dowling states that West Brom's chief executive, Xu Ke, had instructed him to inform the Chinese agent of this potential method of conducting a transaction, and that West Brom had previously conducted an international transfer using this method of transaction previously in the past. So while the potential Matheus Pereira transfer did not happen, it is claimed that West Brom have already done this at some point.

Should be noted that there are several denials from parties involved at the end of the article. Lai denies the claims and denies that he had any knowledge of the potential transfer. West Brom deny that they ever have broken or would break any applicable laws or regulations. Dowling denies any wrongdoing and claims to have originally believed the method to be legitimate, and to have immediately ceased discussions when the legitimacy of the method was called into question.

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Seems perfectly ok especially if the EFL look into it in 5 years and the fact that it is not Derby county and it’s only £25 million between friends and they have only done it probably at least once before. 
 

No EFL story here 

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And in there lies the rub, with the actions of the EFL towards the likes of Sheff Wed and others (all cascading from the farce of a policy that is FFP) then we now move to the battle off the pitch. People like Steve Gibson will have seen that this stuff works and will be now carrying out the equivalent of waving an imaginary card in the refs face for years to come. If you can't win on the pitch, try to win off it.

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A lot of the online articles about this are 404ing when one attempts to access them. Might suggest that West Brom are lawyering up on this allegation. Lawton and The Times seem to be sticking by it, though.

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