VIDEO: Vandenbempt: "The names that are mentioned, including the new ones, are very bad for our football"

57 suspects have to answer for their role in the scandal surrounding bribery and fraud in Belgian football (Operation Zero). Many big names do not escape the dance. It is now up to the council chamber to decide who will actually appear in court. Football journalist Peter Vandenbempt, who has studied the case, expects few sporting consequences. “They’ve got themselves into trouble, it’s up to them to show that our football will be different now, and certainly in the future.”

Peter Vandenbempt in The News:

Louwagie and Mehdi Bayat with newcomers

There are no big surprises between the new names. The vast majority of the 57 names had already become known in recent months and years. Among the newcomers, the names of AA Gent manager Michel Louwagie and the strong man of Charleroi, Mehdi Bayat, stand out.

It all has to do with the fact that what we had heard in recent years mainly came from the Dejan Veljkovic section and not from the Mogi Bayat section. Much less was known about that. Louwagie and Mehdi Bayat are linked to this.

It was very striking for Mehdi Bayat that he suddenly resigned as chairman of the Belgian Football Association just before the summer, just before the start of the European Football Championship. In his own words, because he wanted to focus on Charleroi full-time.

But then it was already heard that the real reason for the sudden resignation was that his name had been mentioned in this file. The football association then kindly asked to leave. So that must have been it, I think.

I do know that Veljkovic’s lawyer has said that if the Football Association is consistent, then several clubs should be relegated. But that’s actually not right.

Peter Vandenbempt

Relegation?

There will be no sporting consequences, not in the short term and not in the longer term. I do know that Dejan Veljkovic’s lawyer has said that if the Football Association is consistent, then several clubs should be relegated. But that’s actually not right.

It is true that when directors are definitively convicted of human trafficking, gang formation or corruption and have been active at that club for three years, that club will not receive a professional license for the next season and therefore cannot participate in professional football. . But that’s not more than a theory, that’s really not going to happen.

Football has never fared worse in perception.

Peter Vandenbempt

“Football has not waited to start with a big clean”

It’s just one more time a huge pile of negative publicity for Belgian football. I think that football has never scored worse in terms of perception, due to all kinds of files in recent years.

If you look at the names mentioned today such as the strong people of Club Brugge and a few active members of the Board of Directors of the Pro League, it is very bad for football.

Okay, there’s a whole range of crimes that are now being brought together. There is corruption and match fixing on the one hand, possible forgery on the other hand. Of course, no one has yet been convicted or found guilty and many of those involved maintain their innocence and may well be proven right.

Fortunately, football did not wait for that to start with the big clean-up. A lot of initiatives have been taken in recent years, such as the clearinghouse, the pursuit of more transparency and more openness.

Belgian football is also subject to very strict anti-money laundering legislation. I also sense a great willingness within football to continue that reorganization and cleaning up in the coming months and years.

It’s very simple: they’ve got themselves in trouble, it’s up to them to show that our football will be different now, and certainly in the future.

I also sense a great willingness within football to continue that reorganization and cleaning up in the coming months and years.

Peter Vandenbempt

Watch the report in the Journal:

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