The exponential financial growth of the sports industry has, unfortunately, brought about an array of opportunities for illicit practices like match fixing, money laundering and human trafficking. Lack of financial transparency, structural weaknesses of the system, and under-regulation render the sports industry highly vulnerable to money laundering and other illicit practices in general.
During the past few years there has been a plethora of scandals in the sports industry, involving the payment of illicit fees to players and referees, trafficking of dirty funds through sport sponsorships, and the use of clubs as money laundering machines. Anti – Money Laundering regulation has been almost non-existent in the sports sector despite the efforts of a number of organizations advocating such regulation within the sports industry.
This month we explore the topic of money laundering and its inherent risks for athletes in the hope that we will make athletes understand the catastrophic effects that any involvement in money laundering schemes can have on them. We believe that money laundering in sports has to be tackled through regulation the soonest possible and we applaud the authorities of Belgium for applying the EU 5th AML Directive to the Belgian football sector.
Athena P. Constantinou