Football’s super-rich play the game by their own rules | David Goldblatt

The Football Leaks revelations show how little the views of fans and regulators matter

WikiLeaks shone a light on the duplicity of US foreign policy. The Panama Papers laid bare the network of offshore banking, tax havens and legal loopholes that allows the global super-rich, political dynasties in authoritarian states and organised crime to (the bounds of all three being pretty fluid) hide their capital. But it may just be that Football Leaks, a website with a trove of insider contacts, astounding documents and very secure servers, will be the best guide to the malfeasance of the global economy and our crumbling international order.

In 2016, the site released documents, in association with Der Spiegel and a consortium of European media outlets, that made clear the widespread nature of illegal secret payments and tax avoidance in both the transfer market and in the ways clubs paid players’ salaries, not to mention the wealth and power that has accrued to agents. Since then, Lionel Messi, one of the highest-earning footballers of all time, has been found guilty of tax evasion, though, unsurprisingly, he will not be doing any jail time.

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