The former chief executive of the European Professional Football Leagues has claimed that a professional club in Europe is being run by criminals.
Keynote speaker Emanuel Medeiros made the stunning allegation during a debate on match-fixing at the Soccerex conference in Manchester called ‘Fixing Football’s Dark Side.’
Medeiros believes more must be done to combat the problem of criminals becoming actively involved in football, but stopped short of naming the team or league he believes are affected, while Interpol’s John Abbott refused to comment on the matter when asked.
“I believe there is a professional club in a professional league in Europe that is being run by criminals. I have reasons to believe that has been the case,” he told Sky Sports News HQ's Chief News Reporter Bryan Swanson after the debate.
“I would not mention any club or any country because there are proper ways of dealing with this and with due respect for press, it’s not in this forum things will be done.
“We have been in touch with relevant authorities raising warnings.
“If you go back to 2003 and 2004 you can find many examples of criminal infiltration in club ownership, in Finland, in Belgium, and other countries. I’m not saying anything new.
“We need to tackle this issue seriously. We need regulation in terms of club ownership or we are vulnerable to this type of criminal activity and unscrupulous individuals.
“This is a wake-up call.
I believe there is a professional club in a professional league in Europe that is being run by criminals. I have reasons to believe that has been the case
“I know governments understand the nature of these threats and we have been co-operating with them to build a common agenda to protect sport’s positive values.
“What we have to do is build a strong, concerted, unified effort to combat this. This is no longer a silent cancer. It's up in the air. Everyone can see it, but we need action.
“I'm aware of an ongoing police investigation into that club, but I cannot go into details.”
Interpol’s Abbott was also asked about the matter, but refused to comment on possible ongoing investigations.
“It would be very unwise of me, as a person representing a law-enforcement organisation, to talk about things that might be currently investigated,” he said.
“I am not prepared to go down that route.”
UEFA have also been approached for their response to the claims but have yet to respond.