There Are Also ‘Nyantakyis’ In Belgium Football

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The Belgium police forceThe Belgium police force

Whoever thinks corruption is in Africa only might be deceiving himself. Like Africa, corruption is everywhere, including football in Europe.

Belgian police raided football clubs across the country Wednesday and detained the coach of champions Club Bruges, two top agents and others for questioning about financial fraud and possible match-fixing.

Police carried out a total of 44 searches at leading Belgian clubs and residences, federal prosecutors said in a statement.

A further 13 raids also took place in France, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro, Serbia, and Macedonia.

Belgium’s “Big Three” clubs Anderlecht of Brussels, Standard Liege and Bruges all confirmed their premises had been searched. Bruges said their Croatian coach Ivan Leko was also taken in for questioning.

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The club is competing in the Champions League against Atletico Madrid, Monaco, and Borussia Dortmund.

The raids and arrests, which top-selling Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws said had shaken Belgian football to its core, come just three months after the country reached the World Cup semifinals.

That success was achieved with a squad largely nurtured as teenagers in the local Jupiler Pro League before their Belgian clubs transferred them for substantial profits to bigger name outfits in England, France, Italy, and Germany.

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Investigators were also questioning leading football agents Mogi Bayat and Dejan Veljkovic, as well as a former general manager of Anderlecht, Herman Van Holsbeeck, and two referees, judicial sources said.

Other clubs raided included current league leaders Racing Genk and 2014-15 champions KAA Gent.

“A large number of people have been deprived of their liberty and taken in for a thorough interrogation,” the prosecutors said, adding that a judge would later decide who should be held in custody or formally arrested.

Prosecutors said the searches were related to an investigation launched at the end of 2017 into suspect financial transactions in the top Belgian league, with possible charges of a criminal organization, money laundering, and corruption.

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Some agents were suspected of hiding commissions on transfers, players’ pay and other payments from the Belgian authorities, the prosecutors said.

“During the investigation, there were indications of possible influencing of matches in the 2017-2018 season,” the prosecutors said.

Some of the house searches were carried out at the homes of club directors, soccer agents, referees, a former lawyer, a trainer, and journalists at an accountancy office.

The searches abroad were chiefly at offices and residences of people used to set up the suspect transactions, the prosecutors said.

Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Joel Savage and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.

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