Top Belgium football clubs raided amid match-fixing investigation

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Some of Belgium’s most prestigious football clubs have been raided by police as part of an investigation into match-fixing.

Authorities announced on Wednesday that 220 police officers had taken part in 57 raids in seven nations across Europe, with 44 of them taking place in Belgium.

The remaining 13 operations were spread out between France, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia.

Local media reports that top football agent Mogi Bayat and former Anderlecht coach Herman Van Holsbeeck are among those being questioned by detectives, who swooped in after gathering evidence during a year-long probe.

According to the AFP news agency, Club Brugge manager Ivan Leko has been arrested.

Club Brugge manager Ivan Leko is reportedly being questioned by detectives
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Club Brugge manager Ivan Leko is reportedly being questioned by detectives

The Belgian prosecutor’s office has said it has evidence of “suspect financial operations” by agents and has also uncovered indications of the “possible influencing of games” last season.

In a statement, a spokesman for the office added that it was investigating “activities relating to a criminal organisation, money laundering and private corruption”.

Among the top clubs to have been searched are Anderlecht, who have won Belgium’s first division 34 times, their fierce rivals Club Brugge, and one-time European Cup Winners’ Cup finalists Standard Liege.

According to Le Soir, officers present at Standard Liege seized contracts involving current first-team player Obbi Oulare, who is on loan from Watford, and manager Michel Preudhomme, who are both linked to Mr Bayat.

The newspaper also reported that two referees had been taken in for questioning – Bart Vertenten and Sebastien Delferiere.

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