Skip to content

Belgian authorities raid multiple clubs in financial fraud and match-fixing investigation

Anderlecht, Club Brugge & Standard Liege confirm police raids; Reports suggest agent Mogi Bayat and Brugge coach Ivan Leko among those questioned

Anderlecht's Constant Vanden Stock Stadium
Image: Anderlecht are one of the clubs police have raided in the investigation

A number of Belgium's top-flight clubs have been raided by police as part of a wide-ranging investigation into corruption, money laundering and match-fixing in Europe.

The federal prosecutor's office in Brussels has confirmed 44 raids occurred in Belgium and 13 more in France, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia.

The raids are part of a federal investigation begun in 2017 into suspicious financial activities in the Jupiler Pro League, Belgium's top division.

The chairman of champions Club Brugge, Bart Verhaeghe, told Flemish TV channel VTM Nieuws: "Club Brugge will give full cooperation to the investigation and has nothing to hide."

Anderlecht have also confirmed they were raided.

A club statement read: "The federal police today carried out a search of RSC Anderlecht. This action is part of a judicial inquiry into the practices of certain players' agents.

"The club is cooperating fully with the investigation and will make no further comments."

Standard Liege confirmed they made all requested documents available during a two-hour search of their premises on Wednesday morning.

Lokeren have also said they are co-operating with the investigation after officers spent three-and-a-half hours with the club, but nobody was needed for questioning.

A statement from Oostende said that a swift search of their offices had taken place but no-one from their club was questioned.

"The club is also convinced that no-one is involved in this case at KV Oostende," it added.

Other Belgian clubs reportedly affected are Genk, Gent, Kortrijk and second division side Mechelen.

Sky Sports News has received the following statement from the Belgian FA: "The RBFA has taken note of the judicial inquiry, which was unveiled on Wednesday 10 October and which concerns various stakeholders in Belgian football.

"If the Belgian Football Association is brought to contribute to this inquiry, it will of course do it in full transparency.

"At this stage the RBFA will make no further comment in this regard in order to respect the current procedure."

Additional reporting by The Associated Press:

A spokesman said that a year-old probe found evidence of "suspect financial operations" by agents and also indications "of possible influencing of games" during the previous season.

Club Brugge coach Ivan Leko
Image: Club Brugge coach Ivan Leko is reportedly among those being questioned

Reports suggest that Mogi Bayat, Belgium's best-known agent, Brugge coach Ivan Leko and a former Anderlecht coach were among those being questioned.

The investigation centres on "activities relating to a criminal organisation, money laundering and private corruption".

"Match-fixing undermines the integrity of sports. the Justice Department is working for a fair sport," Justice Minister Koen Geens said.

The probe comes only three months after Belgium's national team reached the World Cup semi-finals.

"Agents, referees, a former lawyer, an accounting office, jewellers, journalists" were among those hit by the raids, authorities said.

The raids took place in just about every region in Belgium. It involved 184 police officials in the country and 36 in the other European nations.

The statement said some football agents, independent from one another, "would have schemed to hide" transfer commissions, payments of players and coaches, and other payments from the Belgian authorities, causing tax losses.

It was during the investigation that indications appeared that there may have been match-fixing during the 2017-18 season.

Around Sky