NLK9405 4 HSP 0414 Stavrum

The Herald / Newsquest

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By Michael Grant

FORMER Aberdeen striker Arild Stavrum has called on football agents and officials to be pursued and investigated as thoroughly as politicians when they are accused of corruption.

The retired Norwegian, 42, is now the author of five books and at an event in Glasgow tonight he will discuss corruption in football, the theme of his new crime thriller Exposed At The Back. In a 14-year-career which included spells in Sweden, Turkey and Germany, as well as two years at Pittodrie from 1991 to 2001, Stavrum became appalled by the mercenary behaviour of some agents towards their players. In retirement, he has been exasperated by the way a blind eye is often turned towards immorality in the football community whereas politicians are aggressively pursued. Sony this week pulled out of its FIFA sponsorship as the world's governing body remained mired in endless allegations of widespread, institutionalised vote-rigging, bribery and ticket scandals.

"Football should be simple, 11 guys versus 11 guys and the winner takes all," said Stavrum. "But there is so much to football now and it's a real, real shame. Footballers' lives are being ruled by the financial interests of others. Players are being moved around from lower division clubs to lower division clubs for financial interests.

"If a politician does something wrong the media will go after them but it's not the same in football. Even if someone deserves it, they don't seem to get it the same way. They should be treated like politicians. If they steal money, or do something that should be investigated, then they should be pursued. Most accusations in football are not dealt with in the proper way.

"The book has created some discussion since it was published but I think it should have created more, and not just to sell books. I think there are some points there that have been swept under the carpet in Norway. They have had a few really bad cases in Norway, issues with match fixing and things like that. I would never say something bad about a footballer trying to do his best. But an agent making loads of money on moving a player from Norway to England or from England to France or whatever, if he shouldn't be doing that then that is the heart of football being torn out by financial interests. I don't care if the books treads on toes in that way."

Arild Stavrum is speaking at Waterstones, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, at 6.30pm tonight.


031951 GMT DEC 14