Dermot Desmond’s Prior Ownership of Betdaq
Previously, in December 2012, I highlighted the conflict of interest Dermot Desmond had with his ownership of betting company, Betdaq. How could the majority owner of one of Scotland’s top football clubs who owned a betting company that had been declared a Rogue Operator by Australia be the owner of a club competing in Scotland never mind in Europe by UEFA? Especially when the number one problem currently being fought by UEFA & FIFA is match fixing with organised crime profiting through betting. Typically nothing was done by the SFA under their new super-duper ‘Fit & Proper‘ ownership of clubs criteria. Also the bastions of integrity, the Scottish football media, were found to be MIA as usual.
Desmond Sells Betdaq to Ladbrokes
Early in 2013, Dermot Desmond reached an agreement to sell Betdaq to Ladbrokes. Prior to the transaction Dermot Desmond had 2% of Ladbrokes and for the Betdaq sale he received another €18.6m in Ladbrokes’ shares:
On the 1st March 2013, Ladbrokes issued a statement to the Stock Exchange that 6,952,405 ordinary shares had been issued for the transaction. Total shares at that time that amounted to 949,356,056 so that was another 0.7%:
Dermot Desmond obviously doesn’t have any control but he definitely would have contact with the management of Ladbrokes.
Now we have Rangers player, Ian Black, pulled up for betting on a game. He has done this previously at two different clubs, Inverness Caley Thistle between 2004 – 2009 and Hearts between 2009 – 2012, but only when he did it at Rangers did the SFA act? Hmmm
And who reported Black, it was Ladbrokes. Coincidence?
Naturally there is a lot of sympathy for gambling addicts like Kevin Twaddle, former player of Morton & Motherwell, who lost, upon his own admission, £1 million and now works as a decorator. However you have to ask with all of his betting you think he would have been caught in the SFA net but of course he wasn’t a Rangers player.
Hypocrisy of the SFA & SPFL
With the SFA, we have the main football authority whose major trophy, the Scottish Cup is sponsored by William Hill, a major betting company that runs it’s operations in Gibraltar to avoid UK betting tax. It avoids £37m in tax every year. So it’s a betting company and a tax avoider – that’s demonstrates the heights of Sporting Integrity reached in Scottish football.
Both on the SFA website and at Scottish cup games fans are bombarded with promotion encouraging betting by William Hill. Note: William Hill recently extended their Scottish Cup sponsorship until 2016:
What of the SPFL?
Who is the Chairman of the SPFL/SPL and has been for the last 4 years? One Ralph Topping, the CEO of betting company William Hill, the same sponsor of the Scottish Cup.
Here we have the major football league and football authority both beholden to a betting company that is also a serial Tax Avoider providing the core funding at the heart of Scottish football while the SFA sit in judgement of players betting.
So the hypocrites of the SFA and SPFL sit in judgement of players when betting is at the heart of Scottish football and has for years but lets hit a Rangers player when former players like Kevin Kyle and Frank McGarvey say the practice is widespread.
This was while the majority owner of one of the main Scottish clubs had a betting company, Betdaq, that was declared a Rogue Operator and the SFA & SPL did nothing. Such a Parcel of Rogues in Scottish football.
And sitting in judgement of Ian Black will be Vincent Lunny, the SFA Disciplinary Officer, no doubt sponsored by William Hill and Ladbrokes.