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“Those who own the law can break the law”

October 30th, 2007 by Tore Plougheld · 1 Comment

Reporter Ezequiel Fernandez Moores reveals how the russian mafia has found a new way to make money laundring: Football transfers with players from South America to Europe

“If I tell You, that the russian mafia is slowly taking over the british Premier League, what will You say then?”

The words come from experienced journalist Ezequiel Fernandez Moores, who has covered sport and especially football in South America since 1978.


Ezequiel Fernandez Moores. Photo: Tore Plougheld

Ezequiel Fernandez Moores has taken the tour from Argentina to Play The Game two times before to tell about corruption in Brazil soccer and corruption within FIFA.

This time the issue is the russian mafia and their influence on the market for transfers of young soccer players from South America to the european clubs in major leagues like the british Premier League. As an example, he brings up the story about the talented young soccer player Carlos Tevez. Officially the first player owned by a third, private part to play in Premier League. An arrangement illegal to the british law of sports.

“The story of Carlos Tevez is a clear example of how the russian mafia have found a new way of money loundring. As a young bright talent, he was bought from his first club, All Boys to the first-division club Corinthians. From there, an investment group named Media Sport Inbestments, MSI, bought Corinthians. MSI, headed by the former russian businessman Boris Bereskovskij, who is now charged of economic crimes in both Russia and Brazil, are strongly suspect to be a part of the modern, russian mafia. And this is only the first part of the story”, Ezequiel Fernandez Moores tells.

“It’s big business for everybody”
Though Corinthians seemed to be bankrupt before the overtaking by MSI, the club seemed not to have a problem paying nothing less than $ 60.000.000 for Carlos Tevez. Money, Moores claims, that MSI paid in bribe to be able to buy Corinthians.

“Everybody makes money out of this, that’s what important to understand. Football is full of grey zones, and that encourages private businessmen to move into the market of club ownership and transfering of players. In this case, MSI took Carlos Tevez and sold him to the Premier League-club West Ham without agreement with the managers of Corinthians. And the money from the sale went directly to MSI, not to the club”.

In the transfering from Corinthians to West Ham no real contract was signed. Thus, Carlos Tevez was de facto owned by the private investors in MSI, not any football clubs. That’s illegal according to british law on sports, and West Ham had to pay a fine on $ 11.000.000 for using Carlos Tevez as a player.

Right now West Ham has rented out Carlos Tevez to another club in Premier League, Manchester United, for a period of two years. At the same time Tevez’s contract with MSI expires.

“I’m sure MSI are going to force Tevez to play after the expiring of the recent contract. Everybody makes money as long as he continue to play brillant football, his owners, his managers, and even his old clubs who each recieve a part of the transfer fees. But most of the millions of dollars go to MSI, and thus the russian mafia. And as long as everybody makes money, no one is going to change the sittuation. It’s horrible, but that’s how it works”, Moores explains as he repports to Play The Game 2007 about the status on international football.

“In Argentina we have a saying: “Those who own the law can break the law”. And it’s true in this case. The connections between the russian mafia and the entire transfer-market gets still more cloudy. But when everybody makes loads of money, I’m afraid nothing is going to change for the better and a more free and fair sport”.

Tags: Theme: Autonomy of sport

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