As national teams battle it out at the World Cup, officials are cracking down on the financial dark side of the game, primarily match-fixing. Also coming under the floodlight are rich owners who seek to spend their way to victory.
European authorities say they have already detected some 200 fixed matches by mid-season this year and that they are going to watch betting trends at the World Cup very closely.
Meanwhile, UEFA has introduced so-called Financial Fair Play rules, fining big clubs to stop ‘financial doping’ as owners pump in vast amounts to cover losses. Critics say the fair play rules are anti-competitive, leaving Europe with an ‘Oligopoleague’ of big clubs, to the exclusion of smaller teams with traditional financing.
These are the hot topics in this edition of The Network. Anchor Chris gets the low down from guests with a special insight into ugly side of the beautiful game.
Joining him in Brussels are MEP Marc Tarabella, a member of the group The Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. Jean-Louis Dupont, a lawyer critical of the Financial Fair Play rules and Georges Grun, a former Belgian international who has played in three World Cups and now a Champions League commentator.