HONG KONG (AP) – A Hong Kong court has rejected Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung's bid to attend the club's first home game of the season.
Yeung, charged with five counts of money laundering involving more than 720 million Hong Kong dollars ($92 million), appeared in court Thursday offering to increase his bail to HK$3 million ($385,000) so he could fly to England to attend Birmingham's match against Coventry and attend to club business.
But a magistrate ruled that Yeung must remain in the Chinese territory at least until he enters a plea in a District Court on Aug. 30.
Birmingham fans were initially skeptical about Yeung, who made his fortune in the Hong Kong real estate market. His protracted pursuit of Birmingham ended in October 2009 with an 81.5 million pound (then $130 million) takeover.
However Yeung won over many fans when his first season as owner, 2009-10, ended with Birmingham's highest top-flight finish for more than 50 years and some big-money signings.
Then last season the club won the League Cup; its first trophy since 1963. However that was soon followed by Birmingham's relegation from the Premier League, confirmed on the last day of the 2010-11 season.
The League Cup win does give Birmingham a place in the Europa League this season, and they will play Portugese club Nacional in a pre-group stage playoff, with the first leg Thursday.