Posted by John Beech on September 7, 2010
Croydon Athletic are in serious danger of disappearing, as a result of issues surrounding their owner, Mazhar Majeed, who, it is reported, has been arrested by customs officers over claims that he has laundered tens of millions of pounds through Isthmian League Croydon Athletic (1). Majeed has only been involved with the club since 2008.
In a fast-breaking story which is not well covered by the bigger papers, it appear s that manager Tim O’Shea and his assistant Neil Smith have resigned (2), Martin Eede has changed his mind about taking on the vacant role of Chief Executive (3), players wages have not been paid (4), HMRC officials have paid a visit (5), and matches are now being cancelled (6). A deeply worrying position for the fans to find the club in.
Whether Majeed is innocent or guilty, and the matter is of course sub judice so I’ll refrain for commenting, it needs to be pointed out that over a year ago there were dire warnings that football clubs were particularly vulnerable to being used as vehicles for money laundering. In July 2009 I blogged on a report (7) by FATF, an intergovernmental body (8), which drew attention to a number of cases of money laundering which had taken place in the football industry.
Just how slack is financial regulation in the football sector? Can we really press on without some serious tightening up?
CROYDON UPDATE - 23 September 2010
Croydon Athletic have won the first major survival battle – the Isthmian League is allowing the club to resume playing ‘subject to certain conditions, to which the Club have agreed‘ (A).