Turkish shadows behind AC Milan’s new ‘partner’ Doyen Sports

Football has its mysterious ways; sometimes even its unsolvable riddles. Well, today’s English column will go through a very particular topic. We’re going to explore a new partnership which might change the future of Italian football; however, this time all the roads don’t bring you to Rome, but to Turkey. Welcome to the world of Doyen Sports Investment, dear Calcioturco.com readers. Once you’re in the club, you’ll never go back.

First of all, I should thank an Italian journalist who worked a lot on the Third-Part Ownerships topic. His name is Pippo Russo, he wrote a book about that (called ‘Gol di rapina’, an almost impossible-to-understand Italian joke-word which means literally ‘Goal by robbery’, also used by Italian football pundits to describe an awful but regular way to score a goal). Anyway, yesterday Russo wrote a detailed article about Doyen Sports, the international fund backing Bee Taechaubol‘s last investment. You may have read about AC Milan‘s selling transaction talks, with Silvio Berlusconi involved in a few meetings to decide the future of the red&black Italian club.

Berlusconi & ‘Mr Bee’ Taechaubol.

Taechaubol – shortly surnamed ‘Mr Bee‘ by the Italian press – is openly known to be backed financially by Doyen. Why is this detail so important? Because it’s exactly what we are going to find out more today, with some very interesting and unknown Turkish shadows behind one of the most powerful funds in the football world. Will we find an answer to the question ‘Who are Doyen Sports Investment?’

From A MYSTERY CALLED DOYEN. PART 2 – by Pippo Russo (Italian column featured on calciomercato.com)

Follow the money. That’s the law we follow when we do investigative reports, to understand better any other involvement linked to our research’s object. In the Doyen Group case the investigation is even more than difficult. Because it’s complicated to find information even on the group: after a very ostentatious beginning from the communicative point of view, they chose a low-profile.”

“So it’s very difficult to find any information regarding the group. Luckily I saved their Wikipedia page before it was cancelled: thanks to that we now have some references on the holding behind Doyen Sports Investment.”

“According to that web page, whose last update took place at 1:30 PM of 20th October 2012, the holding’s headquarters are in Istanbul, their financial arm is in London (Doyen Capital LLP) and their Sport division is in Malta: Doyen Sports Investment, the only subject that currently has a website. Well, of the Doyen Capital the page reports that it works with ‘Nu Cap Limited’, company founded in 2009 working on ‘global commodity trading‘. The group refers to the luxuous hotels chain Rixos, the Turkish construction company Sembol Insaat and the Polish oil-related services company Efir Energy. From their website we discover that Doyen is a private investment organisation and trading working on the ‘innovative trades’ and works anywhere in the world. Africa, South America, Turkey, Middle-East, Asia, Commonwealth of Indipendent States formerly of the URSS. Their investment fields are four: Commodities, Finance, Construction (including hotels and real estate), Sport & Entertainment. On the old version of the site there were also two other sectors: metals & minerals, gas & hydrocarbon. Always on their old website we could specifically discover that Doyen Group invested in fertilizers, precious metals, carbon and even uranium. In the package they put also footballers’ economic rights. Raw materials, come on.”

“Regarding the fund’s financiers we know almost nothing. An article published by Bloomberg in 2013 (HERE) cites two names. One is the Turkish businessman Fettah Tamince, boss of Rixos Hotels chain and mass-media entrepreneur through Stars Media Group, very important subject in the Eurasian area.”

“Regarding Tamince we could recommend some remarks. Firstly, he’s strongly linked to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of the Republic of Turkey. Secondly, in April 2013 the 50% of Stars Media Group was sold to SOCAR, the Azerbaijian‘s state-run oil company. Just three months before the Tourism Ministry of the Azeri country conceded a sponsorship deal to Atletico de Madrid, one of the most ‘doyenized‘ clubs in the world. Coincidences.”

The other Doyen financer is a Kazakh-Turkish billionaire called Tevfik Arif, founder of the Bayrock Group and financial partner of Donald Trump. Arif‘s name went two times on the newspapers. Two years ago in May his gigantic wedding in Sardinia, with the well-known Billionaire local opened earlier and exclusively for that, was a topic for gossip newspapers for some days. Anyway Arif had a more embarrassing adventure in 2010, when he was arrested at the end of a spectacular blitz by the Turkish police on the Mustafa Ataturk yacht, a Turkish monument conceded sometimes just to people rich enough to buy a night on it. Arif rent it for a private party with Eastern Europe friends and businessmen. The armed blitz, whose aim was never explained, brought to the arrest of many people at the party with heavy accusations: according to the New York Daily News, at the party there were 9 “models” from Russia & Ukraine, paid between 3K and 10K dollars. Two of them were underage. The sequence of events will open a process where Arif will be acquitted.”

That’s all we know about the men behind Doyen Group, the holding owning Doyen Sports Investment. Inadequate and spare news. Is it possible that the only financers of the group are mr Tamince and mr Arif? Are there other assets or capitals? And if there are, where do they come from? Is it possible to ask a transparence act, in this moment, when Doyen football Group is going to colonize Italian football?

COMMENTS – Russo’s article couldn’t answer directly to the main question ‘Who are DS Investment?’, but gave us some reflections.

1- FIFA outlawed Third-Part Ownerships just some days ago, but those funds found a way to escape the rule by buying the clubs indirectly. AC Milan‘s negotiation comes right now, with Doyen pushing to have a major role in the next transfer windows. Doyen could be ACM‘s new ‘partner’, right from the original Brazilian word parceiro. Do you remember our column about parceiro Eduardo Uram?

2- All the roads bring to Turkey, with Tamince, Arik and Doyen‘s headquarters in Istanbul. Also the role of Sembol Insaat (Construction) company seems relevant. However, Doyen Sports didn’t invest too much in the Star&Crescent country. At least from the football-world point of view.

3- For instance, DSI players never played in Turkey. A theory could be that Tamince and Arik didn’t find Turkey a fertile land where young talents may have been developed (to increase their value and gain thereafter), so they preferred to invest in Spain and Portugal, where TPO-operations were considered legal.

4- Doyen, as Russo specified in another article about the TPO topic, work almost always with Spanish clubs: Atletico de Madrid, Granada (owned by Udinese), Sevilla and Getafe. In the recent past Sporting de Gijòn were used by Doyen; then their financial situation collapsed.

5- Doyen-represented players are: Botia, Morata, Negredo, Diawara, Centeno, José Antonio Reyes, Lucas Joao, Scepovic, Ricardo Batista and Sergio Oliveira. Now their ‘investments’ are Bustos, Guedes, Douglas Coutinho, Dorlan Pabòn, Tadic, Mangala, Gabriel Barbosa, Kondogbia, Geuvanio Santos, Guilavogui, Ebecilio, Damiao, Castaignos, Lucas Lima, Alberto Rojo, Cirino, Ola John, Promes, Radamel Falcao, Ruben Perez, Shadrach Eghan, Defour, Brahimi, Labyad. The fund also works on the image rights of Neymar and Xavi.

6- Tamince‘s Antalya hotels (the Rixos cited by Russo) are usually theaters of transfer negotiations in the winter, when Turkish and foreign sport clubs fly to the beautiful town in the south of the country. An interesting coincidence.

Have you found other interesting ‘coincidences’ in the football world? What do you think of the Third-Part Ownership issue and the Turkish roots of the fund backing the so-called ‘Mr Bee’? Will Doyen Sports’ work be possible at AC Milan now that FIFA has forbidden TPO?

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