AUGUSTO RODRIGUES | NT
Sydney Lemos or no Sydney Lemos, FC Bardez, Goa, a club with whom his name is ‘associated’ will continue its journey in the competitive world of Goa football.
While FC Bardez in Dubai is thinking of changing its name; FC Bardez co-owner Savio D’Souza claims that Sydney Lemos – who is now serving a 500 year odd jail term in Dubai for duping investors in billions of dollars – was never the owner of FC Bardez in Goa and that the club’s image is being maligned by linking it to Sydney.
“Sydney’s name does not appear anywhere. FC Bardez is a registered club with its own bank account. You will see that Sydney’s name does not reflect in the bank accounts or in the registrar where the club was registered,” FC Bardez co-owner Savio told The Navhind Times.
“Sydney’s father is the president of the club and he has spent a lot of money on the club. That is the money given by him to the club and not his son. He could have got the money from Sydney or his other children. Maybe he has been given the money by Sydney or his other children. Ask him but do not say Sydney is the owner of the club. There is not a single picture or anything associating Sydney with the club,” said Savio.
Sydney Lemos’s business, according to media reports in the Gulf, collapsed by March 16, 2016. The Dubai Economic Department sealed Exential’s office in Dubai’s Media City four months later in July 2016. Lemos had reportedly defrauded 7000 clients of $200 million (Rs 1200-plus crore) by this time. The complainants decided to fight him despite the prohibitive cost – over $ 4000 – needed to file a civil case in Dubai. Lemos was arrested in December 2016, released on bail and re-arrested in January 17.
FC Bardez Sports Club was registered as a team in Goa Football Association (GFA) Professional League in June 2016 by paying a fee of Rs 10 lakh.
FC Bardez managed to avoid relegation from the Goa Professional League despite financial crunches.
“There are no players left to be paid. We should know by the end of May whether a new partner will join us. If that happens, we will continue in the Goa Professional League. If not, we shall apply to play in the AIFF U-16 I-League,” said Savio.
“Please let us keep Sydney aside. If he has cheated, he will pay for it. That is not our problem and it does not affect our club,” said Savio.
Detailed information on FC Bardez in Dubai is still not available. However, Orlando Viegas, a former Dempo Sports Club player and presently with FC Goa’s development squad had this to say:
“I knew him in Dubai. He (Sydney) was initially the captain of FC Bardez team. Players played without being paid. Some players were employed by him. He gave up the captaincy of his team but always seemed to be a nice chap. I never bothered to ask him what he was doing. I used to coach the boys and play for the team too.”
“I know he used to come to practice with Dempo Juniors when I was the assistant coach. I do not remember him as a good player. But, once people get rich they claim all sorts of things,” said Dempo Sports Club assistant coach Camilo Gonsalves who was Dempo Juniors coach when Sydney claimed to be part of the team.
“Sydney was once part of Sports Authority of India (SAI). He was removed because of some act of indiscipline on his part,” said a former SAI employee who knew him.