Belokons considers English soccer team

  • 2006-03-15
  • From wire reports

SWEET DEAL: Latvian businessman Belokons (right) and Blackpool owner Oyston (left) met for the first time in January to discuss the English team's fate.

RIGA - Latvian banker Valerijs Belokons still has his eyes on England's Blackpool soccer club, said Belokon Holding company spokeswoman Laila Jemberga. The firm met with the businessman last week to further discuss buying the U.K. team. Although Blackpool's audit has already been completed, the results have yet to be revealed, team spokesman Karl Oyston said.

In an interview posted on the Blackpool Web site, Belokons said that, as a banker, he was very cautious with money matters. "I am not [Russian billionaire] Roman Abramovich, I am Valerijs Belokons," the Latvian was quoted as saying. Russian billionaire Abramovich is the current owner of Chelsea, and has since moulded the English team into one of Europe's top performers.
If Belokons does buy Blackpool, he plans to set a new goal for the club: to qualify for a higher division. Such motivation, however, seems to be in the banker's own interest.
As Belokons said himself, if the club qualifies, he "can earn investments back."
According to the team's official Web site, there are currently three other bidders. But as Jemberga said, the Latvian banker "is not afraid of competition."
Blackpool is playing in England's third highest football league (Coca-Cola Football League One) and currently ranks 21st among the 24 clubs playing in the tournament. Blackpool was three positions lower a month ago.
Belokons, a well-known Latvian businessman, is the owner of Baltic International Bank, holding 37.2 percent of shares. Baltic Internati-onal Bank ranked 17th among 23 Latvian banks by assets at the end of November 2005.