Nine ar­rests in Bel­gian fraud, match-fix­ing scan­dal

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - SPORTS -

BRUS­SELS >> Three days into Bel­gium’s big­gest foot­ball scan­dal in decades, nine peo­ple are be­hind bars, in­clud­ing one top ref­eree and three agents.

In all, 19 peo­ple faced charges rang­ing from match fix­ing to money laun­der­ing.

Yet, af­ter Wednesday’s ex­tra­or­di­nary po­lice op­er­a­tion cov­er­ing 57 raids in seven na­tions, the scan­dal has left the na­tion’s World Cup stars and the Red Dev­ils na­tional side un­touched.

Bel­gium plays Switzer­land in the UEFA Na­tions League late Fri­day in Brus­sels with barely a ques­tion mark over the match.

At na­tional level though, the dam­age is wide­spread. Even though match­fix­ing al­le­ga­tions did not cen­ter on win­ning the Bel­gian league, which in­volved clubs such as An­der­lecht, Club Brugge, and Stan­dard Liege last sea­son, it cen­tered on the rel­e­ga­tion fight and a once-fa­mous club, FC Meche­len, which has fallen on hard times.

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