Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos presented a new law to regulate soccer teams’ finances, following accusations of corruption, including failure to pay players.
“It can’t be, and we will not permit it, that the sport be financed deceitfully by criminals,” said Santos, during the presentation of the Sports Law, which took place in Bogota, according to a report on the presidential website.
Santos said that from now on, the government will take away official recognition from sports teams that fail to pay the appropriate salaries to their players.
“It is not logical that they [the players] are handed over by their team, every day, with their pockets and their stomachs empty,” said the head of state, reported Caracol Radio.
In April, it was reported by Justice and Interior Minister German Vargas Lleras that five soccer teams faced heavy fines, and could potentially face liquidation, for failing to pay their players, and that the government was accordingly changing sports laws to make the teams’ leadership respect labor rights.
Among other things, Santos emphasized that from now on, better vigilance, transparency and control will be exercised over the sports clubs. He stated that, “As a result of this law, and during the following year, the clubs must choose between two options: to function as nonprofit corporations or to function as legally profitable corporations,” thus making it more difficult to avoid state control.
The president also said that the teams will be democratized so that it can be clear who is in a leadership position and thus easier to avoid illegal financing of the clubs.
“This measure will permit us to know who are the heads of sports clubs and to create a better filter in order to avoid the incursion of money coming from illegal activities,” said Santos.
The president said that the legal representatives of the sports groups are now obligated to report any investment of suspicious money, and to bi-annually report to the government about the resources coming from their shareholders or associates.