Football clubs and financial crimes in Greece

Publication Date04 Jul 2016
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/JFC-06-2015-0030
Pages559-573
AuthorArgyro Elisavet Manoli,Georgios A. Antonopoulos,Michael Levi
SubjectAccounting & Finance,Financial risk/company failure,Financial crime
Football clubs and nancial
crimes in Greece
Argyro Elisavet Manoli and Georgios A. Antonopoulos
School of Social Sciences, Business and Law, Teesside University,
Middlesbrough, UK, and
Michael Levi
School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of the current article is to provide an account of the nancial crimes that are
committed within the football clubs in Greece.
Design/methodology/approach – First, ethnographic research with two football clubs in Greece
was conducted. Additional information on the issues at stake was obtained through interviews with
informed actors from the realm of Greek football. Moreover, the telephone conversations that were
available as the result of wiretapping by the Greek National Intelligence Agency, in relation to the latest
football match-xing scandal (2011) were used. Finally, published media sources were used. These
provided information not only on the process behind nancial crimes within football clubs but also on
the key actors involved.
Findings – A number of nancial (and nance-related) crimes committed within football clubs
were identied in the study. These include: ticket “tricks”, fake tax certicates, crimes related to the
players’ salary payments, owing money, money laundering and match-xing. Issues around
nancial crimes within football clubs must be located within the overall football-related context in
the country, which is, of course, an extension of the general nancial, entrepreneurial and political
landscape in the country.
Originality/value – This is the rst article on football clubs and nancial crimes in Greece. Although
this is a case study from Greece, it constitutes a potential template for research on an international level.
By using the case of football and football clubs in Greece, this article adds to understandings of the
complexity of the broader motivational context of nancial crime.
Keywords Football, Corruption, Financial crime, Match-xing
Paper type Research paper
Introduction
As the more popular sport in the world, football is a huge industry that is growing
globally. According to Deloitte (2014), it is estimated that the turnover of the Big Five
football leagues[1] only will exceed €11.5bn in the 2014-2015 period. In addition to
offering a legally neutral setting for schmoozing with respectable and risk-taking elites,
the huge turnover in the football industry makes it extremely attractive to illicit
entrepreneurs and to corruption, tax evasion and gaming malpractices, which threaten
the actual and perceived integrity of the sport (for example, the bribery allegations
against football’s governing body, FIFA; Moore and Scannell, 2015). These practices
and activities are very often associated with sinister, criminal “organisations” that are
external to the world and industry of football and supposedly “invade” it to exploit it as
much as possible. In media coverage, academic and other literature, football
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/1359-0790.htm
Football clubs
and nancial
crimes
559
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.23 No. 3, 2016
pp.559-573
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
1359-0790
DOI 10.1108/JFC-06-2015-0030

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