Croydon Athletic FC owner is named in Pakistan cricket sting

The man at the centre of allegations of the latest spot betting scandal to shock international cricket is Mazhar Majeed, the millionaire owner of Croydon Athletic Football Club.

The newspaper’s investigation will have ramifications for football, since Majeed boasted to undercover reporters that he abuses his position as owner of non-league Croydon Athletic as an elaborate front for money laundering of his profits from his previous dodgy betting coups.

Property tycoon Majeed, 35, has a £1.8 million home in Croydon, where he lives with his wife and two young daughters.

At his house, reporters witnessed a Range Rover, a black Jaguar and VW Golf all parked in the driveway behind big electronic gates. Yesterday, Majeed was photographed out shopping, driving an Aston Martin.

His South Croydon-based company, Bluesky Developments, was founded in 1999.

A private company – so its accounts are not in the public domain – Bluesky’s own website claims, “We are not heavily reliant on investor capital… Our reputation is built through a successful association with both the development market and the rental property market managing some 250 properties for local authorities”.

Blue Sky thinking? Croydon Mayor Janet Marshall officially opened the offices of Bluesky, the developers run by Mazhar Majeed

The website includes extensive details of many developments in and around Croydon.

Majeed’s company has sponsored several local sporting events and charities, including regular charity golf days at Farleigh Court and Purley Downs GCs.

One event in September 2007 was staged with the Pakistan cricket team, where Majeed was “proudly joined by key members of Croydon Council, MPs from around London and mayors from four districts of London who all enjoyed the evening thoroughly”.

The opening of Bluesky’s headquarters offices in Croydon’s South End in 2007 was even attended by the then Mayor of Croydon, Janet Marshall.

Croydon Athletic now play in the Ryman Premier League after having won the Isthmian League 1 South title last season.Their next game is on Bank Holiday Monday at Carshalton.

After his arrival as “co-owner” at their Mayfield Road ground just over two years ago, Majeed caused some amusement among rival fans when he announced that he wanted the club – which traces its history back barely 30 years to a team playing matches on Wandsworth Common – to be playing in the Conference, the fifth tier of English club football.

The club’s website greeted their new owner’s “great commercial expertise”.

Today’s News of the World story has overshadowed some gripping cricket in the fourth Test match between England and Pakistan at Lord’s, with the newspaper’s videoed revelations showing Majeed accurately predicting ahead of the game when the Pakistani bowlers would bowl no balls.

This is not “match fixing”, since no balls have little overall impact on the outcome of the game. Majeed even boasted to reporters that he did not want to fix the result of this Test or the previous one at The Oval, because he wanted Pakistan to win both games in order to help Salman Butt remain as Pakistani captain.

Butt is one of seven players named by Majeed as being part of his betting sting, and the Pakistan captain even met News of the World reporters at a restaurant during the investigation.

“Spot betting” fixes are an extremely lucrative scam, with bookmakers and the betting exchange websites capable of taking bets on myriad facets of the game, from the number of runs scored in an over, to when the next wicket might fall.

The latest scam reportedly had the potential to make £150,000 for those backing the exact delivery when the no balls would be made.

The police have arrested a 35-year-old man “on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers” in relation to the News of the World story.

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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