One of Oliver Kay’s alleged sources has emerged to stand by his claims about the Qatari Dream Football League:
The story in this mornings Times, ‘partly’ came from me and colleagues. Stop attacking the journalist that wrote a factual story.
— Rob Beal (@robbealparis) March 13, 2013
Rob Beal is apparently the Head of Football Media Management European Sports Media group in Paris. I have no idea what that is except it has 29 employees. His job description on Viadeo (like LinkedIn) includes mention of “…interests and colleagues in the Middle East. I deal daily with the world major media groups.”
For the record, this is all very confusing. But the pat assumption that the public may not be buying this is somehow a reflection on Oliver Kay is a tad patronizing. It’s certainly possible the story is correct, and it’s certainly possible Kay was as thorough as he could possibly be and was still misled for reasons as yet unknown. Until this story is confirmed, we can’t know one way or the other. Some papers are refusing to touch it, but the wagons continue to circle on Twitter, and Kay is on the record vigourously denying he was careless in any way in his reportage.
Thanks to Ursos Arctos for sending this my way…
MAJOR UPDATE: So this is kind of a big deal. I’ve done some web investigating and it seems that this Rob Beal person may have a bit of am, erm, history. I typed in his name and ‘Sheffield Wednesday’ auto attached on google. So I went back to the above Rob Beal’s Viadeo page and under hobbies and—yep—it includes Sheffield Wednesday.
His name popped up on a comment on 200% post of all things. Apparently he was involved with Sheffield Wednesday with something called Club 9. I googled his name and Sheffield and <> came up after a little digging, with this snippet:
We can confirm that the Rob Beal of Global Security is our Rob Beal and that he has never worked in security.
If you read the links, his company purports to be operating out of Paris, just like this Beal’s supposed company ESM, and it’s been accused of various forms of alleged fraud. Moreover, another forum link puts the actual location of this supposedly Parisian security firm in…Sheffield. Hmmmmm.
My first instinct was to assume Rob Beal was just making up stuff on Twitter about his links to Oliver Kay. But then I checked his ‘followers’ list. And Oliver Kay, Dan Roan, and other premier journalists are on it. So…what the hell is going on here?
UPDATE #2: Since publishing this post, I’ve been inundated with information offered about Rob Beal, none of it very flattering. He has approached at least one other news organizations with story information before. He was referred to as one journalist as a “scammer.” He has been involved in several attempts to purchase clubs (I’m still waiting on some more information on this front).
And the website Ursos lists below is NOT the same organization Beal purports to be a part of. It has been repeatedly confirmed to me Beal is based in Sheffield. We shouldn’t jump to conclusions, but this is a man with a history of attempting to work with journalists to share information.