BUSINESS

Ladbrokes confirms Thompson dismissal; Cardiff City kit change aimed at Asia

TAGs: Cardiff City, Euro 2012, Ladbrokes

ladbrokes-trader-cardiff-city-kitLadbrokes has confirmed the dismissal of its top trader Jon Thompson and the suspension of a second unidentified staffer following the discovery of what the Daily Mail referred to as “alleged fraud” involving the “setting up of a rogue account in which bets were placed at favorable prices.” Sources told the Telegraph that rumors had been swirling for some time regarding Thompson’s proximity to several of Ladbrokes’ VIP bettors, but a company spokesman said the matter is procedural, not criminal, and that police had not been called in. Thompson, who was with Ladbrokes just over a year, has several weeks in which to appeal his dismissal. Meanwhile, an internal investigation is underway at the company, an unwelcome distraction for Lads’ already lagging trading division, especially given Friday’s kickoff of Euro 2012.

Unwelcome is precisely how Malaysian authorities are describing Euro 2012, at least, in terms of its citizens betting on the matches. The Bukit Aman Secret Societies, Gambling and Vice announced it will cooperate with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) on a plan to “monitor and block access” to websites offering Malaysian punters the ability to place an online wager. The two agencies successfully cooperated on a similar scheme during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, despite the “difficulty to curb such activities at the grassroots level since the websites come from countries where football betting is legal.”

Meanwhile, Vincent Tan, the Malaysian chairman/CEO of Berjaya Group (which includes Asian betting operations), has outraged Cardiff City FC supporters by pushing ahead with plans to change the team kit from its traditional blue to red and incorporating a dragon into the team crest. The changes – intended to appeal to Asian footie fans’ belief in red as a lucky color – were reportedly pulled off the table last month following “vociferous opposition” by fans, only to be reinstated at a board meeting on Tuesday. Bottom line, Tan and Cardiff chairman Dato Chan Tien Ghee are plowing a lot of money into the club, which can only help improve the team’s performance on the field, and if the team starts winning, the fans won’t care if the players are out there wearing nothing but shocking pink willy-warmers. But so long as we’re shaking things up, perhaps Ladbrokes could reverse its poor trading performance by changing from red to blue…

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