Is Roman Abramovich (L) negotiating West Ham’s takeover? Kia Joorbachian (R)
West Ham shocked everybody in the soccer world by signing on Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano. How did these two big names spurn the bigger clubs like Arsenal and Manchester United? The move is closely tied to the takeover negotiations of West Ham by British born businessman Kia Joorabchian, the 32 year old head of Media Sports Investment and the owner of Corinthians, the Sao Paulo based soccer club, Tevez and Mascherano played before joining the Hammers. Kia Joorbachian had drawn immediate comparisons to Roman Abramovich.
What is more intriguing is that Joorbachian might actually be a frontman for Roman Abramovich, Chelsea’s owner, and his business partner, Boris Berzovsky, another Russian oligarch, fleeing Russian authorities on money laundering charges, both of whom are also stakeholders in MSI. It is no secret that Abramovich has been looking into making a foray into the lucrative South American market buying out many mostly bankrupt soccer clubs in Latin and Central America, without drawing attention to his name and the mostly negative reaction that he draws. Joorabchian immediately pumped $35 million into player acquisition, and spirited away Tevez, from arch rivals Boca Juniors and Mascherano from River Plate, before they could make their move to the La Liga or Serie like many other Brazilian and Argentinian stars do.
This summer was rife with speculation that Tevez and Mascherano would move to the Premiership to the big clubs, especially Man U. Corinthians are dead bottom in the Brazilian league and Tevez and his family have been harrassed by disgruntled fans. However, till recently, there was no reports by Tevez and Mascherano to move to England, and in fact, Joorabchian, had convinced them to stay on in Corinthians. The volte face by Tevez and Mascherano in joining West Ham and the takeover negotiations seems to have Abramovich’s fingerprints over this one too.
The FA should be careful that companies like MSI don’t become de facto heads of the English League. The last thing you need is a corporation with match and price fixing capabilities.