Corruption suspected in 1st League: Belgium's football is heading for super-GAU

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Despite the international break, it is these days in Belgium's first football league turbulent: In a large-scale raid, the police arrest players, coaches and consultants because they have manipulated games. Belgian football is in chaos.

The massive fraud scandal in Belgian football is widening. Game manipulation, fraud and money laundering: These are the allegations of the federal prosecutor against well-known people in the industry. 29 people have arrested the police, as the investigators in Brussels announced. The responsible judge also pronounced two international arrest warrants. The prosecutor's office expressed the suspicion that two Erstliga games of the 2017/2018 season had been manipulated. It was about manipulation in the relegation battle in favor of FC Mechelen.Unter the arrested were the information according to players, referees and other officials. How many of the suspects are now released, is unclear. An indictment was filed against five people. In four cases, according to the prosecutor suspected of membership in a criminal organization and corruption. Key figures of the alleged affair are, according to the media, among others, the game consultants Mogi Bayat and Dejan Veljkovic. Both had been arrested during a spectacular big raid yesterday. They are also suspected of financial fraud involving player transfers and matchmaking by top division clubs. Ivan Leko, coach of Borussia Dortmund's Champions League opponents FC Brugge, was also detained overnight on Thursday. This was confirmed by his lawyer Walter Van Steenbrugge. He announced that his client "will soon be back on the football field". Leko will be shown to the examining magistrate. On the other hand, former Anderlecht manager Herman Van Holsbeeck is reported to have been released after the Belgian news agency Belga. "Disaster for the sport" Ivan Leko, coach of FC Bruges, is one of the most prominent suspects in the Belgian football corruption scandal (photo: REUTERS ) The day after the sensational searches of 44 buildings in Belgium, many questions remained unanswered. So it was initially unclear whether the scandal affects foreign leagues. The investigation had also searched 13 buildings in France, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro and Macedonia. Belgian international Vincent Kompany commented on the incident with drastic words. "The link to practices in trafficking, drug trafficking or prostitution – where a lot of money circulates – is very tight," he told VTM about the football industry. The daily newspaper "Het Nieuswblad" described the events as a "catastrophe for sport". The daily Le Soir called the police action "unprecedented" and quoted an insider as saying, "There is only one rule in Belgian football: there is no rule." A total of 184 police officers in Belgium and 36 civil servants abroad were involved in the searches. Unrest before the Nations League match After the thrilling appearance of the national team at the World Cup in Russia, the pendulum is now swinging back, they said. The "Red Devils" to Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne had taken third place with inspiring offensive football. More on Friday the team in the Nations League Switzerland. Hazard emphasized before the game the good reputation of the national team. "I think we have a good image with the national team for a few years now." However, he did not want to comment on the ongoing investigation. Belgium coach Roberto Martínez also said he would wait for the prosecution's findings. Investigations alone are not harmful yet – but the results may already be. The investigation was incidentally by a lawsuit of KVC Westerlo, who was relegated at the end of the season 2016/17, got rolling. It was a matter of suspicion that the match between Kortrijk and Mouscron might have been postponed. Mouscron had to win the away game in Kortrijk and actually took the threesome. Bayat clients were under contract with both Kortrijk and Mouscron.


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