Top Belgian football clubs have been targeted in a series of police raids that are part of a wider European investigation into corruption, money laundering and match-fixing.
Current Champions Club Brugge and the country’s two biggest clubs, Anderlecht and Standard Liege, were among those searched.
44 raids took place in Belgium as well as 13 more in France, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia.
The raids were carried out on the eve of the meeting of the European Union’s Expert Group on Integrity in Sport.
The Expert Group gathers public policy makers, academics and numerous representatives from sports organisations to discuss how to combat corruption within sport administration and events, including match-fixing.
The News Media Coalition has Observer status within the Expert Group and has highlighted the role of the news media in carrying out investigations into wrongdoing in sport as well as bringing attention to the concerns of fans, sponsors and other stakeholders and campaigning for change.
At today’s meeting, in Palermo, Italy, the Belgian delegation circulated a press release from the Belgium federal prosecution office.
It confirmed that the investigation had focused on suspect financial operations in the world of Professional Football in Belgium as well as attempts to hide commissions arising from player transfers and other business transactions.
During the investigation further indications surfaced of possible influencing of contests in the competition season 2017-2018.