Cardiff City Supporters Trust have asked for a meeting with Vincent Tan after it was revealed he offered £3.7m in bonuses to players.
The Cardiff City owner spoke to the team after their 1-0 defeat against Tottenham on Sunday and told them they could expect a large financial award if they beat the drop.
But Premier League chiefs warned City the move could be in breach of their rules as all bonuses must be declared at the start of the season.
The club have since said they offer has been withdrawn. Tim Hartley, chairman of the Supporters Trust, said he wants to meet with Mr Tan to get to the bottom of the situation. He said: “This latest episode shows Mr Tan has no true understanding of the game of football. “There seems to be no transparency or formal corporate governance at the club. “The supporters trust have again requested a meeting with Mr Tan so we can put these questions to him.”
A spokesman for the club said Mr Tan had not realised offering a bonus could be seen as a breach of Premier League rules. But Mr Hartley said he would be surprised if this was the case.
“Surely somebody at the club must have told him that even the suggestion of this payment would have broken the rules,” he said.
Mr Tan’s offer was particularly surprising given his falling-out with players over bonuses earlier in the season. Then-manager Malky Mackay allegedly had to intervene between the Malaysian businessman and the players after Tan appeared to be reluctant to pay out other performance-related bonuses. But is is believed the owner had not included a bonus for staying up because he expected his investment over the summer would see the Bluebirds beat relegation.
Despite the offer being withdrawn the Premier League could still investigate Mr Tan for breaking the rules. If found guilty he could face a fine or the club could be docked vital points in their fight against relegation.
Premier League rules T12 and T13 state: “Full details of a player’s renumeration including all benefits to which he is entitled whether in cash or in kind shall be set out in his contract. “The terms of a contract between a club and a player shall be strictly adhered to.” West Ham were fined £5.5m in 2007 over third-party ownership of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano and Portsmouth suffered a points deduction in 2012 as punishment for going into administration.
But if Cardiff or Mr Tan were punished it would be the first time in Premier League history that fines or point deductions would be levied because of bonuses.
Former Arsenal and England centre-half Martin Keown said Mr Tan’s latest controversy is not surprising. He said: “It’s indicative of the way they do things at that football club, the owner is a law unto himself. “The owner wants to do things his way, he changes the manager when he feels like it and he changes the kit when he feels like it. “Does he not think the players have enough professional pride to play well anyway without additional bonuses?” Mr Keown, now a BBC pundit, said fans would also be concerned by Mr Tan’s attitude. “They will be thinking ‘are we not playing these players enough?’” he said. “The irony of the whole thing is that the only person who has not managed the club well is Vincent Tan.”
City host bottom-of-the-table Fulham on Saturday in a must-win relegation six-pointer at the Cardiff City Stadium. They have won just one of their last 12 league games and are one point ahead of Fulham.