Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan says he’s no ‘villain,’ threatens to walk away

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In an extremely rare interview Cardiff City’s Malaysian owner Vincet Tan has come out all guns blazing, as the billionaire businessman finally has his say following months of intense criticism.

After changing Cardiff’s colors from blue to red, then bankrolling the team to Premier League promotion last season, Tan hasn’t stayed out of the headlines since. But for all the wrong reasons.

He fired hugely popular manager Malky Mackay in inauspicious fashion in January and in this lengthy interview with the BBC, Tan calls out fans, ridicules former manager Mackay and threatens Cardiff’s supporters with walking away and much more.

Speaking to the BBC, Tan was back in his homeland of Malaysia where he is treated as a hero and was having a huge party thrown in his honor to celebrate his business and charity work along with his birthday.

Here’s the transcript below, as Tan talks Bond villains, taking over transfers and scolds Cardiff’s fans. There will be some serious repercussions from this explosive interview.

On the fans of Cardiff City protesting against him:

“I would say that even now 90 percent of the fans are supportive. The problem is you have 10 percent of fans who are not supportive. They should apologize for what they have done to me. I think whatever we have done, we have done it right. Fans are not involved in the management, fans don’t know the details. My message to the fans is I came to your town, I saved your club and I put a lot of money into the club and got the team promoted for the first time in 51 years.”

“Supporters, this is your club. Why do you do stupid things and be influenced by people who have done things that aren’t right for the club? Without me this club would’ve gone down.”

On former manager Malky Mackay:

“Before he came to us Malky was at Watford and they finished 16th and 17th for two years, he didn’t do very well with Watford. I think Malky got lucky that he came to Cardiff. Where we went wrong is that as far as I was considered, one transfer was not authorized. We agreed to spend $52 million, which is what I put in and is a lot of money, and compared to the other teams that came up, Hull and Crystal Palace, we spent double or triple what they did and you see they are doing much better than us.”

“If I have my say then it is a public feud, so I just let him say all the things he wanted to say. He played the press well. One day we are the hero, maybe another day we are zero. Maybe today I am zero in the eyes of some people. In the eyes of football fans he’s the hero, tomorrow this will reverse when the truth comes out. I assure you.”

source: AP
Former manage Mackay, right, was lambasted by Tan for his performance in the transfer market.

On changing the clubs color from blue to red and changing the team badge:

“I stand by that decision to change the logo from the bluebird to the dragon. That is your national symbol of Wales. I am putting your country flag of Wales back into the jersey. In Asia red is a color of success, festivity, joy. After we changed the color, we won promotion in the first season. I think that was a good omen. No way, under my ownership, will I change it back to blue. Perhaps if you find an owner who likes blue, sure pay me out and do whatever you want. I’ll go somewhere else and build another red club!”

On the British press:

“The British press are unfair, maybe because we didn’t tell our side of the story that well. Somebody told their story better. When the time is right I will tell my story. Sometimes the British press are maybe a little bit racist and quite unfair.”

On being cast as a villain in many pictures:

“I wear sunglasses because of the glare of the spotlight in the stadiums. And I wear gloves because it’s very cold in the UK.”

On the future:

“Right now, at this point of time, I will stay. Unless the fans [expletive] me off, then I may leave. We believe we will stay up in the Premier League, we are blessed with good luck, we should be able to stay in the league. Next summer I’m sure we will do better with the transfers because I will be personally involved. We will look at the team and make it stronger. We will not let the manager run wild, that was a mistake I made.”

David Moyes charged by FA for “slap” comments

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Sunderland manager David Moyes has been charged by the English Football Association after he was filmed telling a female BBC reporter “you still might get a slap even though you’re a woman,” and warned her to “be careful” the next time she came to their Stadium of Light home.

[ MORE: Barton banned 18 months ]

Moyes, 53, has since apologized for the outburst which occurred after a post-match interview following Sunderland’s 0-0 draw with Burnley. He believed the cameras had stopped rolling but his comments were filmed on a cell phone.

The Sunderland manager has his team rooted to the foot of the Premier League table, 12 points off safety with six games remaining.

Below is the statement in full from The FA:

David Moyes has been charged in relation to comments made after the game against Burnley on 18 March 2017.

It is alleged the Sunderland manager’s remarks were improper and/or threatening and/or brought the game into disrepute, contrary to FA Rule E3(1).  He has until 6pm on 3 May 2017 to reply to the charge.

Joey Barton banned for 18 months amid betting scandal

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Burnley midfielder Joey Barton has been banned for 18 months from all soccer related activity with immediate effect.

The English Football Association have issued the ban after Barton, 34, accepted the charge but requested a personal hearing. Barton admitted to placing 1,260 bets on soccer games over a 10-year period.

Here is the statement in full from the FA about the charge.

Joey Barton has been suspended from football and all football activity for 18 months with immediate effect after he admitted an FA misconduct charge in relation to betting.

It was alleged that between 26 March 2006 and 13 May 2016, he placed 1,260 bets on the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in, football matches or competitions in breach of FA Rule E8.

Following the Independent Regulatory Commission hearing, the Burnley midfielder was also fined £30,000 and warned as to his future conduct. Written Reasons will follow in due course.

Burnley released a short statement saying that “Joey Barton plans to appeal the length of this suspension” and the former Manchester City, Newcastle and Rangers midfielder issued a lengthy statement stating just that.

He also offered plenty of context into his hearing as he believes he was treated harshly by the FA.

“I am very disappointed at the harshness of the sanction. The decision effectively forces me into an early retirement from playing football. To be clear from the outset here this is not match fixing and at no point in any of this is my integrity in question. I accept that I broke the rules governing professional footballers, but I do feel the penalty is heavier than it might be for other less controversial players. I have fought addiction to gambling and provided the FA with a medical report about my problem.

“I’m disappointed it wasn’t taken into proper consideration. I think if the FA is truly serious about tackling the culture of gambling in football, it needs to look at its own dependence on the gambling companies, their role in football and in sports broadcasting, rather than just blaming the players who place a bet.

“Having consulted with my friends and lawyers, I have decided I will be appealing against the length of the ban. I hope that I shall be afforded a fair hearing by an independent Appeal Panel. If I am, we are confident that the sanction will be reduced to a fair one that both reflects the offences as well as the mitigating factors and the fact that there was nothing untoward or suspicious about the bets I made.

Barton also admitted that between 2004 and 2011 he placed “a handful of bets on my own team to lose matches” and tried to defend his actions, saying he had no way of influencing the outcome of those matches. The Liverpudlian also stated that he grew up in a culture of gambling and wants the FA to do more to help players from similar backgrounds.

At the bottom of his statement he also listed 30 of the “most pertinent bets” for the FA as he tries to be as transparent as possible.

Barton last played in midfield for Burnley — he re-signed for the Clarets in January after leaving Glasgow Rangers following a disastrous six-month spell in Scotland — last Sunday against Manchester United and that could well have been his final game as a professional if he does not get the length of this ban cut down.

The controversial midfielder has previously been banned three times by the FA for violent conduct, while he also spent time in prison in 2008 for an assault on a night out in Liverpool and was also handed a four-month suspended sentence after assaulting Man City teammate Ousmane Dabo on the training ground.

Newcastle, West Ham raided as HMRC make arrests

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Both Newcastle United and West Ham United are at the center of a huge fraud investigation by tax authorities in the UK.

HMRC released a statement on Wednesday saying that 180 officers had been deployed across the UK and France and that it had arrested “several men working within the professional football industry.”

Financial and business records, cell phones and computers were seized in the raids which is in relation to income tax and national insurance fraud.

In a statement HMRC had the following to say about the ongoing investigation.

“180 HMRC officers have been deployed across the UK and France today. Investigators have searched a number of premises in the North East and South East of England and arrested the men and also seized business records, financial records, computers and mobile phones.

“The French authorities are assisting the UK investigation, have made arrests and several locations have been searched in France. This criminal investigation sends a clear message that, whoever you are, if you commit tax fraud you can expect to face the consequences. As this is an ongoing investigation HMRC is unable to provide any further detail at this time.”

Unconfirmed reports state that Lee Charnley, the managing director of Newcastle United, was arrested during raids on the training ground and St James’ Park.

West Ham released the following statement following the raid on their London Stadium home early on Wednesday.

“The clubs is cooperating fully with HMRC to assist their inquiries. No further comment will be made at this time.”

HMRC has recently stepped up its investigations into the tax paid by soccer clubs on lucrative transfer fees and image rights.

Wenger: Sanchez, Giroud will both be with Arsenal next year

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Arsene Wenger thinks Alexis Sanchez will sign a new deal at Arsenal this summer, whether the manager changes or not.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s visit from Leicester City, Wenger did not offer any clues as to his future with the club. He also said it does not hinge on how the Gunners finish the current campaign, and that he is working on transfers for the benefit of Arsenal regardless of his future.

[ MORE: Will Real open door for Barca? ]

That’s no surprise, given his reputation and fidelity to the club. What may surprise some is Wenger’s confidence that Sanchez will stay at the Emirates Stadium.

From Sky Sports:

“I personally think he will stay and sign. First of all he is happy here, his desire is to stay, that is what I deeply believe.

“I don’t think you would sell him to any Premier League club, that is for sure. The question is why would you sell him to another club? You want to be as strong as you can be and not strengthen the other teams.”

Wenger said both sides want to work out a deal and that the hold-up resides in agent-related matters. He also said Arsenal does not have interest in selling Olivier Giroud, who backed Wenger just over a month ago.