Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Football needs a longer spoon for these particular devils

Alisher Usmanov is a pretty "controversial figure". In fact the Russo-Uzbek tycoon initially made his money through acquiring control of large parts of the Russian metal industry at a time when that industry was one of the most murderous in the gangster world of 1990s Russia. He has gone on to acquire a very diverse set of holdings in Russia and increasingly outside Russia. In the UK he recently acquired Sutton Place, the former home of JP Getty. He has also acquired a large stake in Arsenal football club.

Usmanov has been extremely close to the regime of Vladimir Putin, and although his Kommersant newspaper has not been entirely slavish to that regime, it has -in general- fully served the interests of both Putin and United Russia. Indeed earlier this week, Kommersant fired two editorial staff who has allowed the publication of stories that were highly critical towards the conduct of the disputed elections and the statements of the regime. Usmanov is and remains a loyal ally of the Kleptocracy.

Usmanov, like other Russians, has sought to use the positive publicity of being involved in football in the Premiership, or the Scottish Premier league in order to provide a certain amount of international influence and potential protection.

The fact that the British authorities still see fit to deem these individuals "fit and proper" is increasingly controversial. Mr. Usmanov's clear alliance with Putin marks him out as being no friend of Britain. In fact it also marks him out as being no friend of Russia either.

1 comment:

Richard T said...

I find it impossible to avoid remarking that the present corruption of football (and cricket) can be traced to the authorities succumbing to the temptation from the Murdoch Empire which promised them riches beyond the dreams of avarice. The results are there for us to see (or not any more in my case).