Football’s Crazy Rich Asians – Part 2: More Football-Crazy Rich Asians

Nov 7, 2018

by Charles Lim


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. 


New Chairman of QPR Holdings, Tony Fernandes, poses for a picture at Loftus Road (photo by Javier Garcia)


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. 


Tony’s passion and involvement in sports obviously created immense marketing opportunities for his brands particularly in the EPL and the Formula 1 where he owned the Lotus Racing outfit in the 2011/2012 season. Unfortunately, the later turned out to be a “disaster” by his own admission and he no longer owns a team in F1.


Erick Thohir during a recent visit to Inter Milan (InterMilan.IT)


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.


Erick is, until recently, the majority shareholder top flight Serie A club, Inter Milan. Erick is currently eyeing buying Oxford United, a level 3 English club from its Thai owner.


He also owns American major football league club, DC United and, take note – is the first Asian to ever own a 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!


Valencia C. de F. owner Peter Lim


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 with a 50% stake in British carmaker, McLaren Automotive


Peter also owns Mint Media Sports, a company that owns the image rights of Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese superstar who played previously with EPL’s Manchester United and La Liga’s Real Madrid and now plays with Seria A Champion Juventus.


Vincent Tan has three European clubs to his name (SkySports)


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 Kortrijkin recent years.


Berjaya has been involved in the Philippines since the early 1990s. It owns and operates a hotel in Makati, apart from running a gaming operation, to name a few. Vincent’s philanthropic qualities also saw Berjaya Philippines built 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 Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge in action at the English Premier League (EPL) during a recent win over Brighton. He is the only member of the Philippine Azkals to ever play in the EPL, (John Sibley, Action Images via Reuters)


Cardiff City FC is where Philippine’s only footballer in the EPL plays. The Azkal’s top notch 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.


Neil Etheridge, Cardiff City goalkeeper, the only Filipino to play in the English Premier League


Vichai, Tony, Erick, Peter and Vincent are in a league of their own. Ah, these crazy rich Asians. Comically, they will divulge that they were never good in playing football when they were young, but the passion for “the beautiful game” has continuously grown in them all these years, so with their present status,  owning a football club is a passion to improve the sport and its local community.


Author: Charles Lim is one crazy 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:         

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