Foot­ball’s crazy rich Asians

Sun.Star Cebu - - PRIME SPORTS -

They may not have suc­cess sto­ries or ac­com­plish­ments like Vichai’s writ­ten in the clubs’ an­nals yet but their pas­sion for the most pop­u­lar sport in the world and their true grit in con­sum­mat­ing their busi­ness suc­cesses in their home coun­try with har­ness­ing a dream of foot­ball glory in elite leagues is most ad­mired. Here are more Foot­ball’s Crazy Rich Asians: Tony Fer­nan­des, 54, is the Malaysian owner of English club Queen’s Park Rangers. Tony is best known to Filipinos as the chair­man of AirAsia, the largest low-cost car­rier, with for­mi­da­ble op­er­a­tions in the Philip­pines, Thai­land, In­done­sia, In­dia and, nat­u­rally, Malaysia.

Tony went to school in Lon­don, worked there with Sir Richard Bran­son of the Vir­gin Group and, nat­u­rally, loves foot­ball. He bought the Lon­don club, QPR, in 2011 but had seen the club’s per­for­mance fluc­tu­ate be­tween EPL and Cham­pi­onship lev­els.

Erick Tho­hir, 43, is a me­dia mogul in In­done­sia and ear­lier this year was chair­man of the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee of the highly suc­cess­ful Asian Games held in Jakarta and Palem­bang in 2018.

He was, un­til re­cently, the ma­jor­ity share­holder of top flight Serie A club In­ter Mi­lan. Erick is cur­rently eye­ing buy­ing Ox­ford United, a level 3 English club, from an­other Thai owner.

Eric also owns Amer­i­can ma­jor foot­ball league club DC United and, take note of this--he is the first Asian to ever own an NBA team, the Philadel­phia 76ers!

At his early age, we can only ex­pect more ac­qui­si­tions and spec­tac­u­lar moves from this young Asian in the global sport­ing world. Watch out for Ox­ford United, guys!

Peter Lim, 65, be­came the first Sin­ga­porean to own a top Euro­pean foot­ball club in 2014. He in­vested 420 mil­lion Eu­ros for Va­len­cia and groomed it into a cred­i­ble num­ber 4 stand­ing in the highly com­pet­i­tive Span­ish La Liga in the 2017/18 sea­son.

Peter also owns an­other foot­ball club in the UK, Sal­ford City, ap­par­ently with some of Manch­ester United’s for­mer stars who have be­come great bud­dies of his and his fam­ily. He also has in­vested in Ho­tel Foot­ball in a 50 per­cent stake in Bri­tish car­maker McLaren Au­to­mo­tive.

Vin­cent Tan , 66, the Malaysian bil­lion­aire with a diver­si­fied con­glom­er­ate known as Ber­jaya, owns newly pro­moted EPL club, Cardiff City. His in­ter­est in the sport also saw him mix-match his phil­an­thropic in­cli­na­tion with the ac­qui­si­tion of FK Sara­jevo and KV Kor­trijk in re­cent years.

In the Philip­pines, Ber­jaya has been in­volved in the coun­try since the early 1990s. It owns and op­er­ates a ho­tel in Makati, apart from run­ning a gam­ing op­er­a­tion, just to name a few. Vin­cent’s phil­an­thropic qual­i­ties also saw Ber­jaya Philip­pines build and turn over 1,000 units of low-cost hous­ing un­der the Gawad Kalinga Foun­da­tion with pledges of more to come af­ter see­ing the coun­try’s rav­aged en­vi­ron­ment af­ter ev­ery storm or dis­as­ter.

Cardiff City FC is where the Philip­pines’ only footballer in the EPL plays. The Azkal’s top­notched goal­keeper Neil Etheridge is Cardiff’s first choice, and we are on a watch on what this bond be­tween Vin­cent and Neil, hatched thou­sands of miles away in Eng­land, can bring to up­lift foot­ball in the Philip­pines. (The author, Charles Lim, is an Asian foot­ball en­thu­si­ast who runs a PR con­sul­tancy in the Philip­pines. He went to school in Eng­land and worked in sev­eral Asean coun­tries and is now a lead­ing force in ad­vo­cacy for sports tourism in the coun­try. Email: charles.sel­

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