Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has promised to put an end to the leaking of drug money into the country’s professional soccer clubs.
Mr Santos said “a few rotten apples” were jeopardizing the future of Colombian soccer. The Colombian congress is debating legislation intended to make the financing of soccer clubs more transparent. “We are going to stop any relation between criminals and football,” said Santos during a speech.
The president was speaking at an awards ceremony, where the ex-San Francisco Giants shortstop Edgar Rentería was awarded the sportsman of the year award.
One of the most popular clubs - Independiente Santa Fé of Bogotá - is currently under investigation for allegedly laundering money for drug cartels. Independiente Santa Fe is alleged to have laundered millions of dollars of drug money for Daniel “El Loco” Barrera. The club’s directors have promised full co-operation with the investigation.
Mr. Santos -a fan of Independiente Santa Fe- said soccer had to return to the times “when there was a healthy environment and the support was wonderful.”
The president was referring simultaneously to the need of cleaning up criminal presence from the books of some clubs, and the need to control violence among fans; there are violent incidents between supporters of opposite teams before and after every game, often resulting in fatalities. Minors are the most affected.