Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 3rd 2013 Contents On Tuesday, Borussia Dortmund proved to
be the unlovable object as Real Madrid threw
everything at the Germans in the Champions
League semifinal at home in the Bernabéu.
But it was not to be. The Spanish giants,
searching for the elusive "La Décima"---their
tenth all-Europe cup-winner's trophy---were
once again cast aside by German opposition.
Last year they were beaten by the other Ger-
man team (Bayern Munich, who played
Barcelona in Wednesday's other match, but
after my Metro deadline) that is likely to con-
test the CL Finals at Wembley Stadium on
May 25. Barcelona must overturn a 4-0 deficit
from the first leg at the Allianz Arena, soooo....
Los Blancos nearly pulled off the impossible
with two goals in the last 10 minutes, but their
heroic comeback came too late to change the
course of the tie, as BVB progressed due in
large part to the impressive 4-1 first-leg ad-
vantage courtesy Robert Lewandowski. BVB's
Polish assassin could have added to his cache
of goals but put too much thought into his
strike and missed from just eight yards out.
Substitute Karim Benzema would make
things interesting when he gave the hosts a
glimmer of hope with seven minutes remain-
ing, sidefooting in from close range after Kaka
teed up Mesut Özil for the cross from the
The hope was palpable for the Real fans
when Ramos smashed the ball home from
Benzema's layoff---with two minutes plus
stoppage time left in the game. Alas, despite a
deluge of strikes and counterstrikes, when the
English ref, Howard Webb, blew the three
shrill blasts of his whistle, La Décima would
have to wait another year for her dance, and
the way for a (possible) all-Bundesliga
blitzkrieg of the biggest stage in club football.
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has recently announced that
they have signed over the license for the Caribbean Professional
League (CPL)---the new league that replaced the Caribbean T20 tourna-
ment qualifier for the Champions League T20. The award of the poten-
tially lucrative cherry in the Caribbean region's cricketing pie has gone
to Verus International, a private funding company run by Ajmal Khan
based in the Bridgetown suburb of Brittons Hill, Barbados and with an-
other registered office in New York.
Although living in Barbados since 1997, Khan is a citizen of both Canada
and the United Kingdom. One of the more high-profile investments by the
enigmatic 45-year-old is Cove Spring
House---a Platinum coast villa that rents for
US$4,500 a night.
Less obvious are Khan's other linkages: to
the cousin of IPL founder Lalit Modi, through
Modi's cousin, Satish Kumar Modi, who is on
the board of Royal Holdings Services Lim-
ited, a London-based funding company
presided over by Khan. Lalit was suspended
as chairman and Commissioner of the IPL in
No impropriety is implied here, as the
Modi family is highly respected and well
heeled in the Indian financial landscape.
However, one is curious. More curious is
Khan's connection to another investment:
Predict It Inc, a company, which provides in-
teractive prediction applications targeting
the online sports and financial markets.
Khan also has a joint venture interest in
Barakaat Holdings Ltd, a sports marketing
If the CPL is to be patterned after the IPL,
then it is safe to assume that the WICB's
deal would mirror the one the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)
has with the IPL. That has netted the BCCI over US$1.6bn. The very lucra-
tive income portfolio is pooled into a common fund and 40 per cent of it
goes to the IPL, 54 per cent to the franchises and six percent is prize
According to UK-based brand consultancy, Brand Finance, the IPL dou-
bled its worth from US$2.01bn in 2009 to $$.13bn just a year later.
This is the key reason for the surprise and curiosity
at why the WICB would tether itself to a 20-year con-
tract with a fixed annual payment of US$1.5m. To para-
phrase Guardian sportswriter, Vinode Mamchan, even
the price of doubles raised, so why shouldn't the value
of the CPL?
Despite the preponderance of unanswered questions
surrounding this fledgling CPL, one thing remains abun-
dantly clear: the WICB has a proven track record of in-
ability to attract financing. It is for this reason that I'm
prepared to accept some amount of leeway with
Messrs Khan, et al---after all, 100 per cent of nothing is
The Central Bank of Barbados seems to have their
own questions about Khan's primary investment vehi-
cle, Verus International, and last month issued a warn-
ing that: "Verus International is not licensed to engage
in merchant banking, or any other activity regulated by
the Central Bank of Barbados, in or from within Barba-
dos.Members of the public who transact business with
Verus International do so at their own risk."
Perhaps that warning comes too late for outgoing
WICB president, Dr Julian Hunte, who entered into the
agreement with Verus, but it seems to also have been ignored by Hunte's
successor, Whycliffe "Dave" Cameron, who has not signaled any displeas-
ure with the arrangements.
Perhaps all of these questions are moot, as who knows what will per-
tain when the first six CPL franchises bowl off in the next few months.
Maybe it's worth a gamble and maybe we ask too many questions in the
Issue 86 • Friday, May 3, 2013
Tayé's brand new TV talkshow L.I.V.E! airs
every Monday and Wednesday at 9pm,
with replays on Tuesdays and Fridays at
You can also catch episodes on YouTube
with Dennis Tayé Allen Twitter: @ttgameplan
135 East 57th Street, New York City, which Spi-
derman fans might recognise as the Oscorp
headquarters, is in real life, home to Verus In-
ternational, the private equity firm run by
Ajmal Khan, the license holder of the Caribbean
Cove Spring House, the ultra-exclusive villa on Barbados' west coast suppos-
edly owned by Khan. His neighbors include the Sandy Lane Beach resort
where golfer Tiger Woods was married.
For the last few weeks the underground of
the Internet has been abuzz with the titillating
tease of "a big sports star coming out" and an-
nouncing that they were gay.
Some background is needed here
In the USA, mainstream media has acted like
gay people don't play sports. Despite evidence
that gay men and women have entrenched
themselves in just about every sphere of life in
the US, mainstream sports---the big leagues of
the NFL, MLB, NHL and the NBA---have never had
on overtly gay player who had publicly an-
nounced their sexual preference. By that meas-
ure one would assume that in the history of
men's sports in the USA, the gender-bending
barrier had never been broken.
That, to me, is nonsense. But, nonetheless, this
week, Jason Collins became the first to change all
that. "Wait...who?" you ask? Yeah, same thing I
had to do as well.
Collins, the centre of the Washington Wizards.
On Monday gone, he became the first active
male professional athlete in a major American
sport to publicly come out as gay. O_o
Yeah... Forget that Collins is a journeyman
player---he's played with three teams since the
start of the 2012 season and is due to become a
free agent in July. So...technically that makes him
NOT an "active player" by anyone's definition.
Much about Collins is hocus pocus. He is listed
at seven feet tall in the NBA's player register.
"In sneakers, with my orthotics, ankle braces
and two pairs of socks, I'm a good 6' 11 1/2," said
Collins. Hopefully he doesn't come up four inches
short of advertised all the time. Right?
What's not to be laughed at, though, is the es-
timated spending power of the LGBT community
in America---pegged at over US$800m annu-
ally---which Collins has just become the poster
So that answers the logical question of "Why
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova, who came
out in 1981, called him a pioneer.
"I look at her as one of my heroes, the dignity
and class that she's lived her life and all that
she's achieved in her career," Collins said. "She is
my role model. Hopefully going forward I can be
someone else's role model."
Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, US
President Barak Obama said: "He seems like a
terrific young man. And I told him I couldn't be
prouder of him."
It was certainly a brave step for Collins, and
one always wishes the best for one's fellow man,
so to you I say: "Good luck".
I have a feeling he won't need it.
Madrid's Sami Khedira from Germany, left, and Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski of Poland challenge for the
ball during the Champions League semifinal second leg soccer match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in
Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday. AP Photo
NBA veteran Jason Collins, left, poses with television journalist George Stephanopoulos, on Monday in Los Angeles.
In a first-person article posted Monday on Sports Illustrated's website, Collins became the first active player in one
of four major US professional sports leagues to come out as gay. AP Photo
Links Archive May 2nd 2013 May 4th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page