Staines Town FC, an English soccer club that plays in Isthmian League Southern Central, said on Tuesday they are suspending all soccer-related activity immediately after several allegations against the team’s ownership Downing LLP, including failure to comply with Russia legislation sanctions and breaching of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The club stated the reason for the shutdown was to have the proper authorities investigate to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that Downing is not funding modern slavery.
“In the first instance, STFC has an obligation under The Modern Slavery Act 2015 to ensure that our business and supply chains are free from human trafficking and slavery.”
Downing LLP, which bought Staines in 2008, denied the “wild” allegations in their own statement, claiming it was an attempt by STFC owner Joe Dixon “to deflect attention from his mismanagement of STFC over a number of years and this has left the club in a parlous financial position.”
Among the other allegations against against Downing LLP include “environmental crimes, price fixing, deforestation, forced evictions, human rights abuses, child labour, slavery, gender discrimination and murder,” according to the statement.
The club says it is boycotting Wheatsheaf Park stadium, owned by Downing, and vowed “not go back to Wheatsheaf Park and play beneath the bloodied shadow of the profits of slavery, child abuse and all else.”
Staines, a non-league club, also accused Downing of funding a Swiss Bank that has been found guilty in a United States Federal Court of conspiring to launder over $36 million in bribes to FIFA officials and executives of other football leagues.
“As a result of the clubs downward spiral, we have suffered defamation, ridicule, threats and abuse, much of which we have had to accept in the knowledge that the general public were not aware of the appalling depths to which Downing LLP operations have seemingly sunk to via its apparent funding of the most heinous, nefarious and barbaric crimes within our society,” the team said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Staines Town FC accuses ownership of funding ‘modern slavery’