By Samindra Kunti
April 24 – Belgium football has again been tarnished with corruption allegations with Belgian police carrying out raids this morning at top club Anderlecht’s training ground as well at the Belgian FA (KBVB) in a separate investigation into money laundering.
The raid coincided with the KBVB demanding the relegation of both KV Mechelen and Waasland-Beveren following their own investigation into match-fixing by both clubs.
Details of today’s police raids are still emerging as, at press time, investigators were still on the scene. The raids at Anderlecht and the Belgian FA are understood to focus on money laundering and in particular several transfers and player movements by football agents.
Last October Belgian football was plunged into chaos with police swooping on 44 locations in a wide-ranging probe into match fixing and financial fraud. Earlier this week the Belgian FA concluded its in-house investigation into match fixing, resulting in today’s call for top flight clubs KV Mechelen and Waasland-Beveren to be relegated.
In a statement the KBVB wrote that ‘the disciplinary investigation of the KBVB with regard to possible falsification last season in the matches KAS Eupen – R. Excel Mouscron and YR KV Mechelen – KV RS Waasland-SK Beveren has been clompleted. The file concerning the competition KAS Eupen – R. Excel Mouscron was classified without consequence.’
The governing body wants to reach a final decision and shape clarity for next season by June 30, but the KBVB could face a legal battle as both clubs have already contested the claims by the FA. “For relegation, the claim must be submitted before 15 June,” argued KV Mechelen on its website. “We are getting a punishment for something that we have not done.”
“We are surprised about the requested sanction by the FA prosecutor because we know that we as a club are innocent,” said majority shareholder Dieter Penninck.
“You cannot be punished for something that you did not cooperate with,” said Beveren spokesman Martijn De Jonge. “We are shocked because we have nothing to do with this case. You cannot be punished for something that you did not cooperate with. But we will, in any case, thoroughly prepare ourselves legally.”
Mechelen may refer to a 1984 precedent when Standard were caught up in match fixing scandal concerning their Belgian title match against Waterschei. Plenty of individual punishments were dished out at the time, but Standard escaped relegation as the claim was submitted too late.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1558557902labto1558557902ofdlr1558557902owedi1558557902sni@o1558557902fni1558557902