Saturday, March 25, 2017

By Hook or By Crook


I am so done with this Sino Europe Sports deal. So done. And yet, here I am, writing about it again because… well because it’s not done. Still. And the saga gets more and more pathetic as the days go by. But as it drags on, the rumors get more and more ridiculous. Some people even think it’s going to get done by hook or by crook.

I know he looks more crook here, but I really don't think that's it this time

So on Wednesday, the 22nd, Fininvest received €20m of the €100m required as a third deposit after the deal failed to close by the contract date of March 3rd. Imagine if Silvio was your landlord… would your landlord allow you to pay your rent like this? Never. So then yesterday, the 24th, another €30m supposedly arrived. It truly is like a layaway plan. They’re reporting that closing should happen on April 14th, but they haven’t even come up with the second half of the third €100m deposit, how will they get the rest of that money to Italy on time?

So after nearly eleven months of negotiations and contracts, they have paid €250m of the €720m + €350m in investments that they promised to. Not even close to half. Whatever you believe, that they are being punished by Chinese regulations, that their investors are actually imaginary, or anything in between, the bottom line is that this is not going to cut it. We don’t have the time to sit around and wait for this to happen. We can’t put ourselves in a position of not accessing funds for the maintenance of the club or transfer windows. That’s just not how football works.

It might literally be easier to walk the funds out across the Great Wall of China

So if Sino Europe are not able to get the money here without getting loans from and creating new offshore holding companies, then the deal must be crooked, right? Must be Berlusconi laundering money, right? Wrong. First of all, there is documentation tracing the funds directly back to Yonghong Li’s account. And if that doesn’t convince you, consider what I’ve already said: Berlusconi is a pro at both the lying and the money laundering. He would never be so naïve or sloppy.  Plus, why would Berlusconi allow his team to be run further into the ground (read: lose more value) while no one can do anything in the transfer markets? “By crook” makes no sense at all. And yet every day that this charade continues, Berlusconi is made to appear more the crook, because that is more believable than the naiveté that it takes to continue with this deal.

So either Berlusconi grows some balls on his tiny little 5’5” mini-man frame and cuts the cord on the deal, looking for a new future, or we are stuck with Sino Europe’s “By hook,” method, waiting and wasting the team away until they can get enough money into Italy by any questionable means necessary. And by wasting away, we are fumbling the contract renewal of Donnarumma and others, and looking at the exit of many of our best players this summer because of the myriad failures of this deal. For me, their blunders are way too many to entrust our sacred club into their inept little hands. This deal is the laughing stock of the world, and anyone with any sense wants Fininvest to say no to a new contract and move one.

We need to put the same faith in him as he is putting in this train wreck

However, Fininvest don’t seem to have the team’s best interests at heart. They seem hell bent on selling the club, specifically to Sino Europe Sports, no matter how many years it takes. Which is ridiculously stupid, because the club is plummeting in value every single day that they keep this charade up. There is no reason for anyone to believe that Sino Europe can keep up their end of the bargain at this point, no matter how many €20m and €30m payments that trickle in via shady sources. They clearly do not have the ability to pay for the club any time in this decade, and their foolish doggedness and feeble attempts only make the situation worse. Wisdom and pretty much every sensibility screams to just stop this nonsense and move on, but Fininvest seem determined to see the deal through, by hook or by crook.


This post inspired by the music of Beck’s “Loser”

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