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Asian owners of European football clubs

Published on May 20, 2014 9:28 AM
 
Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim during an Atletico Madrid exhibition soccer match at Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore on May 21, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: EPA

On Saturday, Peter Lim became the first Singaporean to own a top European football club after his 420 million euros (S$720 million) bid was accepted. He joins an exclusive group of Asians who have taken control of elite European clubs.


1) Thaksin Shinawatra - Manchester City (2007-2008)
The former Thailand prime minister, 64, bought Manchester City in July 2007 for £82 million (S$173 million) after failing to acquire Liverpool and Fulham. Thaksin stepped down just a year later when his fortune was frozen by the Thai authorities. At least, City signed Vincent Kompany during his reign.

2) Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan - Manchester City (2008-present)
EPL champions City are currently backed by Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi, who bought over Thaksin's stake in Sep 2008. Armed with the petrol dollars, City went on a buying spree of top footballers like Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Robinho. The club has since won the title twice in the last three years.

3) Carson Yeung - Birmingham City (2009-2014)
Birmingham may have won the League Cup in 2011 but they were also relegated from the EPL that same year under the Hong Konger. The 54-year-old former hairdresser was accused of money laundering and was tried in a Hong Kong court. He was found guilty and sentenced to six years in jail this March.

4) Balram Chainrai - Portsmouth (2010-2011)
Nepal-born businessman Chanrai, 56, holds the unwanted distinction of being the first owner in the EPL whose club had to enter administration. He placed the club under administration after finding out of the club's £135 million (S$283 million) debt.

5) Vincent Tan - Cardiff City (2010-present)
The 62-year-old Malaysian businessman angered Cardiff fans in 2012 when he changed the club's traditional colours from blue to red and redesigned the club's badge to include a red dragon. He sacked popular manager Malky Mackay and the club were relegated this season just a year after winning promotion.

6) Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha - Leicester City (2010-present)
The head of Thai duty-free retailer King Power, 56, bought over the Foxes in Aug 2010 and his tenure has been smooth-sailing and has even led to Leicester returning to the EPL after winning the English League Championship in the recently-concluded season.

7) Anuradha Desai, Venkatesh Rao and Balaji Rao - Blackburn Rovers (2010-present)
The Indian trio from poultry group Venky's, aged 50, 47 and 41 respectively, bought the club in Nov 2010 but are largely unpopular. They replaced manager Sam Allardyce with Steve Kean, who got them relegated from the EPL. Former player Henning Berg and Michael Appleton were hired as managers but both were sacked after two months.

8) Nasser Al-Khelaifi - Paris Saint-Germain (2011-present)
A sports businessman and former professional tennis player, the 40-year-old Qatari he took over PSG in May 2011. His financial clout allowed the club to sign the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani, David Beckham and Thiago Silva among others. The club won consecutive league titles in the last two seasons,

9) Tony Fernandes - Queens Park Rangers (2011-present)
The Malaysian founder of AirAsia, 50, bought over QPR in Aug 2011. He backed the club by signing players like Loic Remy, Christopher Samba and Esteban Granero but the team failed to gel and were relegated in 2013. QPR announced this year an annual loss of £65 million (S$136 million), the largest recorded by any English club that season.

10) Erick Thohir - Inter Milan (2013 - present)
The Indonesian media mogul, 43, bought Inter last September. He also owns American football club DC United and is the first Asian to own an NBA team, the Philadelphia 76ers. Under his leadership, Inter have opted for bargain signings, such as the free transfer of ex-Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic.