Thaksin takes control of Manchester City; 

 
       

Eriksson is new manager

  

LONDON (AP) - Sven-Goran Eriksson was appointed Manchester City manager on Friday after former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra announced he had gained effective control of the club to become its new chairman. After coaching England, Eriksson now has almost as tough a job to lift City out of the shadow of neighbor Manchester United and compete against the other title contenders in English soccer.

 
   

Last season, City, which has not won a major trophy since 1976 and last won the league championship in 1968, finished 14th after spending most of it hovering just above the relegation zone. ĞI'm sure that in the future we will see Manchester City higher in the table,ğ Eriksson said. ĞIt's a club that's lived in the middle of the table, and maybe a little bit lower for a few years, so it's big challenge. Eriksson is back in club management after five years in charge of England in which he was considered a flop, failing to get past the quarterfinal stage of two World Cups and a European Championship.

 
   

ĞDid I really do so badly with England?ğ he asked Friday. ĞI have never worked in the Premier League before so I don't know if I have (anything) to prove or not. I know what I have done in the past and I am looking forward to an exciting job and an exciting season.
ĞA lot has been written about me _ some fair, others maybe not fair _ but I will not read all of it. I am here trying to do a good job for Manchester City and I hope I will be judged on that, positively or negatively, if things are not going quite so well. Thaksin, who is in exile in Britain after being ousted in a bloodless military coup in September, announced on the Plus Markets
stock exchange that he had bought the requisite amount of shares needed to take control through his company UK Sports Investments Limited.
John Wardle, who sat beside Eriksson at the news conference at the City of Manchester Stadium, said he had stepped down to vice chairman to allow Thaksin to take his position.

 
  

 Eriksson, who has been at City's training camp with the players for the past two days, has signed a three-year deal worth a reported 9 millions pounds (US$18 million, ¤13.3 million). The Swede has had standout success at club level. Among the 17 titles he collected, Eriksson helped Sweden's IFK Goteborg, Portugal's Benfica and Italy's Lazio capture domestic league and Cup doubles. He also guided Lazio to success in the European Cup Winners' Cup and a Super Cup victory over Champions League winner Manchester United.

 
  

The Premier League starts Aug. 11 and Eriksson will face United's Alex Ferguson when the two clubs meet at the City of Manchester Stadium a week later. His first game in charge, however, will be a preseason friendly at Doncaster on July 14. Eriksson is likely to make major changes to City's squad. Sources close to Thaksin have said he will give Eriksson about 50 million pounds (US$100.8 million; ¤74 million) to spend in the transfer market. City has already sold Joey Barton to Newcastle and Sylvain Distin to Portsmouth without making any major signings.

Man City becomes the eighth Premier League club to be owned by a foreigner. The others are Russia's Roman Abramovich (Chelsea) and Alexandre Gaydamak (Portsmouth); American businessmen Malcolm Glazer (Manchester United), George Gillett Jr. and Tom Hicks (Liverpool) and Randy Lerner (Aston Villa); Iceland's Eggert Magnusson (West Ham); and Egypt's Mohamed al Fayed (Fulham). Thaksin faces corruption charges in Thailand and has had his assets totaling US$2.3 billion (¤1.7 billion) seized there. Thaksin and his wife, Pojamarn, are accused of wrongdoing in a land deal. The military council that overthrew Thaksin said it would not oppose his takeover of Man City. Associated Press Writer Rob Harris contributed to this story from Manchester.

 
  
 

Thais want Thaksin asset freeze over Man City deal

By Chalathip Thirasoonthrakul

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's anti-graft body said on Wednesday that former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra may have bought English Premier League football club Manchester City with money he had deliberately hidden from the government. The Asset Examination Committee (AEC), set up by coup leaders after the last year's bloodless putsch, said the money Thaksin used to acquire Manchester City was never mentioned in the asset declarations all Thai politicians have to make.

 

 

"The former prime minister has abused his power by concealing his shares and converting them into cash," committee member Kaewsun Atibhodhi told a news conference. "Therefore we need to find additional measures to freeze more of his assets both domestically and overseas," he said. "We call this an unusually rich case, in which he can't explain how he has obtained those assets." The AEC ordered commercial banks last month to freeze 73 billion baht (1.06 billion pounds) of Thaksin's money in domestic accounts, accusing him of amassing wealth during five years in office by abusing his power.

 

Kaewsun, who heads a panel probing Thaksin, a telecommunications billionaire, did not say what additional power the committee would seek or how it could get overseas banks to help identify and freeze Thaksin's assets. The AEC also ruled on Wednesday that Thaksin had ordered a state bank illegally to provide a soft loan to military-ruled Myanmar for satellite equipment it was buying from a Thai firm in which Thaksin's family was a major shareholder. Viroj Laohaphand, head of the Myanmar loan panel, told reporters Thaksin's order to the bank to lend the Myanmar government 1 billion baht on top of 3 billion baht initially agreed had cost the taxpayer 100 million baht. The panel's finding will be forwarded to public prosecutors to decide whether to charge Thaksin in court with abusing his power to benefit his family's business.

 

RIGHTS ACCUSATIONS

The New York-based Human Rights Watch has called Thaksin unfit to own an English soccer club because of "serious human rights abuses" under his leadership. In a July 30 letter to English soccer chiefs, the watchdog said numerous extrajudicial executions, abductions and disappearances happened during Thaksin's rule, which was ended by a military coup in September 2006.

 

In response, the English Premier League said it took such allegations very seriously. But its "fit and proper" test for club owners barred only people who had been convicted of offences, chief executive Richard Scudamore said. "You can be assured that we will always operate within the law and will always take into account any evidence as verified by the appropriate legal process," Scudamore said. The generals who ousted Thaksin cited "rampant corruption" as a primary reason for launching Thailand's 18th coup in 75 years of on-off democracy.

Thaksin's family cemented their control of Manchester City last month, when they took ownership of 75 percent of the shares in the struggling club. Thaksin, who has been living in exile since the coup, has said his 81 million pound ($163.8 million) takeover would help improve Thai soccer and bring the good times back to a club which last tasted major success 31 years ago. Analysts call the move a publicity stunt to boost his image among the soccer-obsessed Thai masses, whose votes gave Thaksin unprecedented landslide election victories in 2001 and 2005.

Much of Human Rights Watch's criticism stems from Thaksin's 2003 "war on drugs" in which around 2,500 people were killed, and the heavy-handed approach Thai security forces took in battling a bloody separatist insurgency in the Muslim-majority far south.

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra says the money he used to buy Premier League club Manchester City was legitimate, denouncing Thai accusations to the contrary as politically motivated. "The money I had came from the sale of the assets of my own family's companies, from nowhere else, only this," Thaksin told the Manchester City Web site (ww.mcfc.co.uk) in a web cast interview heard by Reuters on Friday. "So the allegations in Thailand are politically motivated to justify the junta staging the coup against me -- that's it."

Thailand's graft-busting Asset Examination Committee (AEC), set up after last year's bloodless coup, said on Wednesday the takeover money was never mentioned in the asset declarations all Thai politicians have to make. It ordered commercial banks last month to freeze 73 billion baht (1.2 billion pounds) of Thaksin's money in domestic accounts, accusing him of amassing wealth during five years in office by abusing his power and looking to freeze his overseas assets.

 

 

İ USMTA Inc. All rights reserved. Revised: January 04, 2015