Feeder clubs for Cardiff

Cardiff City Football Club owner Tan Sri Vincent Tan is in talks to buy two overseas clubs – and has already agreed a player link-up with one.

The Malaysian billionaire was in Bosnia this week to announce a co-operation agreement with FK Sarajevo and the Bluebirds which will see “mutual player exchange” arrangements.

Cardiff are keen to point out the scheme was designed more for youth players than seeing senior imports or first-team squad members heading to Europe for experience.

But reports on the continent have also suggested Tan is ready to make a financial investment in the Europa League Bosnian side, with one official admitting the Cardiff majority shareholder has expressed an interest to buy the club.

Furthermore, it has been claimed Tan is also in talks to take over Croatian club HNK Dubrovnik.

The mayor of Dubrovnik and a Croatian business associate of Tan have both stated talks have begun for the Malaysian entrepreneur to buy the lower-level side with the aim of pushing them into the top flight – and possibly creaming the best of young Balkan talent.

There is nothing in UEFA rules to stop owners having a stakeholding in more than one club – providing they do not meet in UEFA competition.

It is not clear whether Tan is serious about the purported investment interest, although the initial link-up with FK Sarajevo is official, having been announced at a press conference in Bosnia on Sunday.

Cardiff are yet to announce the partnership themselves, but Tan, acting chairman and chief executive Simon Lim and director Michael Isaac were all present to sign what was described as a memorandum of understanding.

Ahead of their second qualifying round game in the Europa League tomorrow, FK Sarajevo officials described the agreement as “a very special day”, while CEO Dino Selimovic revealed it would, in effect, create a feeder club for Cardiff.

“The deal will see Cardiff assist setting up and running of the new modern youth academy at FK Sarajevo, as well as mutual player exchange and loaning of players, providing technical assistance and mutual exchange of experiences of all staff, ” Selimovic said.

He added that it would also see friendlies arranged between the clubs, the memorandum preceding a future contract to be signed next month.

Tan said: “This is a very important venture to invest in, to put something together to help Bosnia and FK Sarajevo. I am very pleased with this visit to sign a co-operation agreement, hopefully with this we will be able to work in a few areas to assist FK Sarajevo and help them to be able to develop football talent, especially in the academy.

“We can work together to produce better footballers for both FK Sarajevo and maybe Cardiff City and maybe even to play for other clubs.

“We hope this will be well received by everybody and enhance good relations between Malaysia and Bosnia.” – WalesOnline