Mediahuis newspapers zoomed in on Thursday on the close ties between Belgian referees Sébastien Delferière and Bart Vertenten, and footballers’ agent Dejan Veljkovic, and the gifts the two officials received from the agent. The judicial investigation into the affair, revealed on Wednesday, will determine whether there was any corruption, but it has already had the effect of an earthquake in the Belgian football world.
According to the newspapers, Veljkovic’s telephone conversations have revealed that the agent tried to influence matches in favour of Malinois football club.
After listening to calls by agents Mogi Bayat and Dejan Veljkovic over many months, the investigators discovered that Veljkovic had frequent conversations with two top-level referees. The Serbian agent told them he considered them Belgium’s best referees by far.
Sébastien Delferière reportedly received, through Veljkovic, a significant reduction on the price of a vehicle he bought from a garage in Alost. Veljkovic is also reported to have given him an invitation to the Golden Boot Gala via Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper, which organised the event, and to have invested in Delferière’s football school.
The other referee, Bart Vertenten, is reported to have shared Veljkovic’s table on many occasions after matches. In fact, Veljkovic called him his “friend”. Het Laatste Nieuws also reported that the agent contacted the newsrooms of Le Quotidien and Het Nieuwsblad, and asked journalists to score the two referees highly in their weekly rankings. This is reportedly what led the investigators to question two journalists.
Veljkovic reportedly used his relations with the referees to try to keep Malines in the first division. When those efforts appeared doomed to fail, he approached players and directors of Waasland-Beveren and Eupen, the Mediahuis newspapers reported.
Malines was finally relegated to Division 1B after Eupen scored a sensational 4-0 victory over Mouscron, a club that has good relations with … Mogi Bayat.