Ostrageous: How Greed and Crime erode Professional Football and We All Look the Other Way

"The European professional football industry is highly vulnerable to money-laundering schemes and major tax fraud, but people both inside and outside the industry are collectively looking the other way."

That is one of the main takeaways from , a book by professor Hans Nelen, which was published today. The book is the result of an analysis and reflection on crime risks and financial criminal activity taking place in European professional football in recent decades. Its main goal is to discuss some relevant criminological issues in relation to the financing and ownership of professional football clubs and the transfer of players.

As the title Ostrageous suggests, the book covers both the outrageous business patterns and habits - and the associated high risk of financial crime - that have manifested themselves in this line of industry, as well as our inclination to turn a blind eye to these developments (like an ostrich with its head in the sand). Curiosity was the main instigator of this book, in terms of identifying the major problems and criminal activity in the professional football industry, grasping the motivations of those involved and understanding the societal reaction, or lack thereof, towards these problems. In the second part of the book, Nelen suggests some strategies that may assist in making the market of European professional football more crime-resistant. These strategies are linked to changes in the organizational culture, structure and forms of supervision and control, and will prove to be a balancing act between enormous economic interests and the necessity of curbing the industry’s illegal activities.


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