the little arrangements of Belgian football

Doubtful transfers, match-fixing, tax evasion … Forensic investigations have been on the increase for a year, but reforms are slow. Brugge FC face Tuesday PSG in the Champions League.

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Medhi Bayat (here in Charleroi on July 17, 2019), director of the Sporting Charleroi and brother of the controversial agent Mogi Bayat, is the new president of the Belgian football since June. John Thys / Belga / AFP

Belgium of football should sleep the sleep of the just, on its throne of the FIFA rankings and its mattress of points to the index of the European clubs, never so thick since the Bosman judgment in 1995. Alas: one claims in the kingdom that certain only close one eye, waiting for the next searches. Because the Belgian justice has, a year ago, showered euphoria post-World Cup. By launching in October 2018 the "Footbelgate", the name of this anticorruption operation in local football, she opened a Pandora's box that seems far from closed.

Read also Scandal in Belgian football: "Everyone is a little guilty"

The case has tarnished the image of the Belgian championship, which is however the head in Europe – four qualified in the finals of the European Cups, including FC Bruges, which faces Tuesday 22 October Paris-Saint-Germain in the League of champions – and asserts itself as a breeding ground of quality for the big five clubs of the continent.

Corruption, tax evasion and the laundering of tax evasion, match-fixing: the "Footbelgate" is a museum of the horrors of the deviances of modern football. The great unpacking favored by the Belgian justice and press aims in particular an agent cited as the hub of the local transfer market: the forty-year-old French-Iranian Mogi Bayat.

Pay yourself three times

The general public discovers a system whereby certain agents maximize their income by working not for the players but for the clubs, who entrust them with the reins of their transfer window. In some transfers, the same agent can be paid three times: on the selling club, the buying club and the player. In Belgium, in the 2017-2018 season, nearly 10% of club revenues were collected by agents. One-third of this sum lands in the pockets of five of them.

"We saw absurd transfers. The name of the agent was more important than the quality of the player, sums up Jesse De Preter, Red Devils coach agent, Roberto Martinez. The cake was big, but a cartel controlled access. "


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