Football’s crazy rich Asians
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: email@example.com)