MTK Global, the boxing management company founded by the alleged Irish gangster Daniel Kinahan, has announced it is moving into football.
The group – which represents more than 300 fighters including Tyson Fury, Carl Frampton and Billy Joe Saunders – said it was setting up a football agency “having already conquered the world of combat sports and become the biggest force in the business of boxing”.
MTK’s move will raise deep concern among football’s authorities, given Kinahan’s notoriety and the speed in which the company has become a major player in boxing. While the 43-year-old has no criminal convictions, he was named in Irish courts as the head of a £1bn drugs and arms cartel.
The new agency, MTK Football, did not respond to questions from the Guardian over whether Kinahan would be involved in the new venture or which players it has signed.
It will be fronted by the little-known agent Danny Vincent, who promised to take MTK Global’s successful formula into football. “MTK are the biggest and best in the world when it comes to day-to-day management of elite fighters,” he said. “Myself and my team believe our passion and knowledge will help replicate that into the world of football.”
MTK Global’s chief strategy officer, Paul Gibson, added: “There has always been an affinity between boxing and football. We see plenty of our fighters enter the ring sporting the colours of their city’s team and footballers regularly take in our events from ringside.
“That’s why we’re so excited by this new venture and the opportunity to explore some of the synergies which undoubtedly exist.”
Kinahan helped set up MGM in 2012, which then changed its name to MTK after a sustained spell of bad publicity. In 2017 he said that he had severed ties with the group but last month lawyers for MTK Global confirmed that he was still advising some of the organisation’s boxers. Kinahan later issued his own statement, insisting he was innocent and that he was continuing to work on “record-breaking” fights.