quinta-feira, 4 de fevereiro de 2016

Entrevista a Football Leaks

O jornal desportivo alemão 11 Freund conseguiu chegar à fala com os responsáveis do Football Leaks que têm tornado públicas as negociatas do futebol europeu, nomeadamente as que incluem intermediários e passes de jogadores repartidos, os famosos TPO. A entrevista foi feita por mail e está dividida em três partes. A terceira é impressionante! Parece que a transparência é um problema para a Doyen e para o Sporting CP.

Fica aqui o link para a entrevista original e abaixo a cópia da mesma

Parte 1 »We’ve got more than 500 GB of documents«

Who is behind »Football leaks«?

We prefer not to go in to such details. Our project is shaking everything from top to bottom, so as you can guess we are creating a lot of enemies, powerful people within the business. And for them transparency in football is a problem.

Reports say you are a group from Portugal. Is that correct?
Yes, we are from Portugal.

When was your organization »founded«?

We decided to start all this back in September 2015, and our main goal at the time was to expose all the lies and controversies within Portuguese clubs. Last summer’s transfer market was the most intense ever in Portugal, there were some shocking transfers, for example Jorge Jesus move from Benfica to Sporting, controversy and many unanswered questions, mostly involving Sporting Lisbon. We decided to help the people understand what really happened so we focused on unmasking that. And fortunately we were able to go even further thanks to our sources. 

Some sites compared you to the likes of Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers. What do you think of it and what are your aims?

All we want is transparency in the sport we all love. Some clubs have no respect for the fans, everything is a taboo; the players wages, transfer contracts, secret clauses, intermediates, etc. The clubs hide everything. In our opinion NBA is a good example of transparency, there are no secrets. Everyone knows how much a specific player or coach earns, and they themselves do not hide it. That’s what football needs.

Contracts and agreements between two parties are not intended to be shared for the public – whether it is in football or elsewhere.
If everyone would think like that there would be no Wikileaks, Luxleaks, Offshore leaks, etc. Everyone would still live in a lie… Football is losing a lot of credibility, the total lack of transparency and the huge amount of undisclosed fees are disrespectful for the fans, so someone had to do something. Fortunately by putting these files online we are finally making an impact across the world, and people are starting to discuss more about those topics. We all want the same. A more transparent a credible sport.

It seems that Third-Party-Ownership is your main topic. If so, how come?

In our opinion there is huge lack of information surrounding those Investment funds. Their existence inside football raises important issues in terms of potential conflicts of interests and match fixing. And of course there’s the risk of money laundering and other criminal activities. Those funds only have a financial interest, which clearly leads to contractual instability between football clubs and players.

Is there any proof for money laundering yet?

We don’t want to accuse anyone without enough evidence, but, for example, Doyen’s structure seems prone to money laundering.

You gained popularity for the first time when you published contracts of Doyen and Twente. Is it an emblematic case of TPO-rule violation?
 Yes, that’s an emblematic case. It shows the damaging interferences of TPO in football clubs policy together with a criminal mismanagement and an irresponsible president. What Doyen Sports do is totally criminal and harmful for the clubs. If you analyze all their Economic Rights Participation Agreement (ERPA), not only with Twente, but with several clubs, you will see they take advantage of cash-strapped clubs and impose unfair terms on the clubs. That’s what we can call ‘loan sharking’. Nevertheless those agreements probably breach the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players article 18bis. Most of the clubs involved in those agreements can be in deep trouble and possibly face a FIFA sanction.

In one document it is said that Twente had to compensate 50 percent of the refused offer for a player whose transfer rights shares lay in the hands of Doyen. But how would Doyen find out about a certain offer and it`s details for a player?

Because usually Doyen is the one searching for offers, and when they present it to the club, they have no other choice than to sell the player. Doyen’s contracts usually contain aggressive clausules, similar to loansharking.

So investors could have actually put clubs under pressure to sell the players?

Unfortunately that’s common, and happens behind the curtain. Investors place the players in certain clubs with the promise that in 1 or 2 years they can move them again to bigger clubs. That’s profitable for the investment funds and their fellow agents.

The selling of transfer rights to private investors often is an „open secret“ in football. How does this openness correspond with the prohibition of exactly that action in international football regulations?

In Europe Third Party Investment deals are still happening behind the curtain but nowadays disguised as »Scouting Agreements« and »Intermediary Agreements«. There’s still a lot of money circulating behind the curtain, and not even FIFA has the slight idea of what’s going on. The growing influence of player agents, and the use of offshore corporations continues to be very problematic.

Could you tell us how much Doyen has earned from its engagement and share investments in transfer rights during the past five years?

More than 70 million euros, according to their internal documents.

Parte 2 »The start of a new era in football«

Why did you decide to publish documents and information on a blog and not provide information to the media?

Portuguese media usually ignore incriminating informations regarding specific football clubs. The lobby is too big, and even the Portuguese Football Federation and the Portuguese League are accessary to TPO deals, similar to the ones involving Twente in the Netherlands.
 Creating a website was the best solution, a huge amount of people found out about it, and social networks did the rest.

In publishing documents one could say you violated the bank secrecy. How you would justify these publications?

From the past four years Doyen Sports was surrounded by mystery, they rarely talked to the press and they never showed any sign of transparency. No one knew nothing about their TPO deals, the secret clauses and mostly importantly no one knew who was the real investor. As everybody can see Doyen is a clear offshore structure using trustees to hide the ultimate beneficial owners.
 Publishing Bank Statements is just another way to help FIFA in their compliance activities and the Malta Financial Services Authority in their investigation against Doyen’s irregular activities.

Why don't you just contact Fifa then? Why did you choose a platform?

As everyone knows FIFA was affected by a huge scandal, so at that time we were not sure if sending documents to the FIFA would really make a difference. A platform surely was the best solution in our opinion, but of course we can directly collaborate with FIFA if they ask to.

You were accused of hacking information and documents. What do you make of that?

Doyen made the accusations. The same people that lied and deceived the Dutch Football Federation, and the same people that said the secret TPO document was false. That says it all about Doyen Sports and their modus-operandi.

So did you hack information and documents?

Surely not, and we can give you an example. Doyen Sports accused us of perpetrating a cyber attack, and in a statement (available on their website) they said that on October 4, 2015, they filled a criminal participation to the police regarding that matter.
 But this past weeks we published documents about Doyen dating of November and December. So how could that be a cyberattack?!

The key question is how do you get to your information. The president of Sporting said you acted on behalf of arch rivals Benfica. Could you deny having bonds to officials of other clubs or pursuing an agenda of a club/party with these publications?

Yes, we have no agenda. We are just fighting for the sake of the sport, but we can’t change anything on our own. Fortunately the Bale’s leak took us to a wider audience and now a lot more people has got the chance to read all the controversial documents involving clubs and investments funds.

Are there any bonds to officials of other clubs?

No, we are totally independent.

You published agreements between Tottenham and Real that showed that Bale was the most expensive player. Can you tell us how your work has changed after the impact of the Bale revelations?

First of all our mailbox is a mess at this moment. We’ve been receiving hundreds of emails, and that’s surely a good thing. We are finally making an impact across the world and we hope that’s the start of a new era of transparency in football.

The leak concerning Mesut Özil was as startling as the Bale one. But what was the reason for you to publish it? Because there were no revelation concerning investors as far as I know.

We don’t only publish contracts revealing links to investors, we also want to expose secret clauses and undisclosed fees.

Parte 3 »They want to silence us«

Have Fifa, national football associations or the clubs connected to the publications tried to get in contact with you or even threaten you?
On the contrary, FIFA welcomes all those revelations. And we were happy to hear that FIFA TMS General Manager Mark Goddard checks our website, and uses the information for their compliance activities. We only had problems with Sporting Lisbon and Doyen Sports, looks like transparency was problematic for them…

It is said that the both of them are trying to sue you. Did police or lawyers approach you?

We don’t trust the Portuguese authorities, in fact we know things in Portugal always run in a very dirty way when there is a lot of money involved. Doyen’s influence is very powerful, and we know in fact the investigation proceedings have been compromised.

How do you know?

Our sources found that evidence, and we know about secret meetings, between members of the Portuguese Police and that agency, in Lisbon. Rogério Bravo, a Portuguese Police Chief Inspector is a very good friend of Nélio Lucas (Doyen’s CEO) and he was pressuring the Attorney General's Office to share all the details about the investigation. In fact Doyen is only using the police investigation to get to us, and they hired a private intelligence agency (Marclay Associates) to do the dirty job.

What does »dirty job« mean?

It means they are on the field searching everywhere as they want to stop this at any cause. The Big Bosses in Turkey and Kazakhstan are really angry, and they want to silence us as fast as possible, so people can understand we are facing huge risks. 

Now it becomes complicated. Why Turkey and Kazakhstan? Who do you mean?
The bosses of the Doyen Group - the Arif family, one of the richest families in Turkey, with ties to Donald Trump and the Turkish President.
According to some reports Tevfik Arif was once arrested on a yacht in 2010 by Turkish police investigating a prostitution ring.

The Daily Mirror reported that you were blackmailing Doyen's Nelio Lucas via mail. It says you demanded money for holding back documents.We never contacted Nélio Lucas. And don’t you think that is strange that only Doyen Sports claims they were victims of blackmailing?!

 That all sounds like a really desperate attempt to discredit Football Leaks.

The report says you used the name Artem Louzov in mails. Is that true?
No. But we recognize that name. We’ve received some strange emails from someone called Artem Lobuzov in early December. He said and I can quote »You are very good. I want to buy your information you have on sports - how much do you want?« »I can offer around 650k Euros«. We obviously refused such an offer.

Did you ever delete documents and if so, why?
Of course not, in fact we’ve got now more than 500 GB of documents. We have thousands of documents, and we are still reviewing the information. 

So you plan to publish more documents in the nearer future?

You can expect many new revelations, about transfers and investment funds.

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