With money increasingly flowing into the Premier League from sources each more dubious than the last, it can be difficult to keep track of all the financial irregularities taking place across the Premier League.
Recently, attention has rightly shifted to the new ownership of Newcastle United and the new ownership of Magpies, a consortium containing the PIF (Public Investment Fund) – which is controlled by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
However, in an investigation shared on Twitter by @Millar_Colin, scrutiny may be returning to the blue half of Manchester as not everything is what it seems with Manchester City’s Asian betting partner, 8XBet.
Man City is making a “profit” from a bookmaker of highly questionable origins operating out of the United Arab Emirates, as I would have guessed. The country in which betting is illegal and punishable by a custodial penalty. Welcome to football in 2022.
– Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) September 20 2022
Beyond the troubling lack of real social presence, the company’s questionable origins – the social accounts currently appear to be run from the United Arab Emirates – would certainly suggest, at least, that there was something off about the latest Sky Blues partnership.
The Manchester City website claims 8XBet was founded in 2018 by Ryan Lee. Written by Jack Kerr, Philip Auclair, Andy Brown and Steve Minari Josemar.
However, the 8xbet.com domain was on sale as of November last year, the Wayback Machine explains.
The .com domain for 978bet, the bookmaker’s previous name, was on sale in 2019 and empty in November 2020.
“There are a number of identical sites associated with each of these brands: but the sites we examined were either registered in 2020 (for 978 bits) or near Christmas last year (for 8XBet).
“This means that if he was operating in 2018, as he claims, he may have been doing so illegally: the Curacao betting company was licensed through a company called 978 Tech NV, and Open Corporates shows that this was only registered in March 2021.
For its founder, when we searched for ‘Ryan Li’ ‘978Bet’ on Google, the solitary result was Josimar’s previous article on the bookmaker.
A search for “Ryan Li” “8XBet” returned no results before March 2022, when his name began in promotional news articles announcing a partnership between 8XBet and Teddy Sheringham.
“At least two of the journalists who quoted Ryan Lee did not speak to him but received quotes via email from a British PR firm that they were not free to mention.”
This is not the first time that Manchester City have been accused of trying to circumvent the FFP rules Previous UEFA investigation suggests the Premier League club has ‘artificially’ increased its income for several years.
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The vague nature of the rules about outlaws offenses means that Pep Guardiola’s men have largely gotten rid of their alleged off-court evasive dealings.
However, if these investigations gather momentum as far as any official bodies are concerned, one would have to believe that the current champions would be under the threat of serious penalties.