DAI YONGGE is dangerous and must be run out of English football before it’s too late for Reading.
The Chinese owner carries an Armageddon threat to the future of this proud and historic 152-year-old club.
Reading owner Dai Yongge has been a complete disaster in football
Almost everything he and his sister Dai Xiu Li have touched in football has been catastrophic.
You only need to look at what happened at the other two clubs these siblings owned to get a terrifying snapshot into what the future could hold for the Royals.
Former top-flight Belgian side KSV Roeselare were relegated to their third tier and the 99-year-old club went bankrupt three years ago.
While Beijing Chengfeng tumbled from the Chinese Super League to their third tier before they were dissolved two years ago.
And, true to this pair’s form, Reading are now in the third tier after crashing out of the Championship — because of their complete incompetence.
Their latest three-point sanction for Yongge’s financial mismanagement means they have now racked up 16 docked points in less than two years.
It grates on me when the EFL dock points in situations like this because it always punishes the wrong people. Let’s not forget it was the League themselves who waved through Yongge’s takeover six years ago in the first place.
The four points taken from Reading already this season means, despite Saturday’s brilliant 2-1 comeback win over Bolton, they are fourth bottom and in the relegation zone.
It grates on me when the EFL dock points in situations like this because it always punishes the wrong people.
Let’s not forget it was the League themselves who waved through Yongge’s takeover six years ago in the first place.
They then sanction the Royals because the Chinese owner they welcomed into English football with open arms isn’t what he cracked up to be. He hoodwinked them as much as he fooled the good people of Reading.
These points sanctions are barely landing blows on Yongge personally — but they’re hurting everyone else connected with the Royals.
The ones that are suffering are manager Ruben Selles, his players, the staff who diligently run the club and, most importantly, the fans.
Of course, the EFL are simply applying the current rules that all 72 of its clubs are signed up to … but the law is an ass.
But how can the EFL punish these rogue owners without hurting the clubs and communities they represent?
There needs to be a huge change to this country’s whole football ownership model.
At present, an owner can takeover an historic club and run it into the ground. We have seen what has happened in recent years.
Bury were expelled from the EFL in 2019, Southend relegated from the League after 101 years in 2021, Macclesfield were sent into oblivion after a points deduction three years ago and Scunthorpe have tumbled from League One play-offs to National League North football in five years.
And, let’s not forget, Premier League founder members Oldham crashing into non-league.
Reading boss Ruben Selles is working under difficult circumstances
Bury FC were expelled from the EFL IN 2019
There are plenty of other examples.
In every one it has been down to the owners wrecking these teams.
Football clubs are community assets so my idea is we should protect them by introducing an “ownership under license” policy.
This would mean that owners have to be granted a license to run an English club, subject to fit-and-proper criteria being met.
But, here is the caveat: if certain criteria isn’t met, the license can be revoked at any moment.
And in those instances the assets will be frozen and the club will be taken over temporarily by FA-appointed administrators before the license is put back up for tender.
The real threat of having the asset taken away like this might just focus the mind of an owner to run the ship more sensibly — and also deter bad apples from entering English football in the first place.
Included in all this clubs could be given an annual financial health check to head off any potential problems. Why is it usually the case that teams are allowed to get into serious peril before anything is done?
Also, as I have previously mentioned, we should also follow a 51 per cent fan-owned model like they do in Germany.
All this would require government legislation with the finer details worked out by politicians and the football authorities.
But a licensing system would surely bring more stability to the game — especially outside the golden bowl that is the Premier League.