Croatia Corruption

Soccer is no stranger to corruption. From from the 2015 FIFA Corruption Case to the recent Belgian match-fixing investigation, the sport has seen its fair share of illegal activity, fraud and unsportsmanlike conduct, particularly when it comes to player transfers and ‘agents’ and their supposed qualifications. However, a case that has been casting a large black cloud over Croatian soccer has gone largely unreported in North America - the case of Zdravko Mamic.

Zdrako Mamic was the chief executive of Dinamo Zagreb(Croatia's biggest soccer club), the vice-president of the Croatian Football Federation and an agent - can you say conflict of interest???

The exposure of Mamic’s crimes started at the UEFA Euros in June 2016. Croatian fans threw flares onto the field during the Croatia - Czech Republic match, as a form of protest. They believed that  the Croatian National Team and the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) were corrupt.

A lengthy investigation and subsequent trial proved that Mamic was guilty of diverting 116 million Croatian kunas (€15.7m; £14m) from the Dinamo Zagreb football club for personal profit and evading another 12.2 million in tax. Mamic was sentenced to 6.5 years in jail time. Mamic was able to syphon the money off of illegal personal profits on player transfers from Dinamo Zagreb- most infamously the €21M transfer of Luka Modric from Dinamo to Tottenham Hotspur F.C. To add to the levels of wrongness, Dinamo Zagreb is a fan-owned citizens’ association club — not a privately owned enterprise.

This case has rocked Croatia and Mamic has been deemed ‘Croatia’s most hated man,’ with Modric not far behind after he backtracked on his testimony against Mamic. It got to the point where there was even an attempted assassination against Mamic. The hotel where the Modric family lived as refugees in the 1990s was marked with graffiti: “Luka, you will remember this one day.”

Heated, to say the least.  

Unfortunately, this type of scheme is not an uncommon crime for agents, across all sports, to commit. Players often put full trust in their agents and have surprisingly little visibility of their transfer fees, salary offers, signing bonuses etc. Clubs communicate with each other and a player’s agent, rather than with the player themselves - a process riddled with opportunities for athlete exploitation.

Transparency for all:

Our Smart Athlete Management (SAM) contract platform, powered by blockchain technology aims to bring trust and transparency to the contract negotiation and transfer process. Blockchain provides a transparent and immutable ledger on which all actions are recorded. Athletes, agents and clubs will be able to see all of their contract offers on a newly digitized contractual platform that records all actions, track changes and signatures to a distributed database, providing an immutable record of all of the actions taken by each of the stakeholders. Our platform creates a transparent, fully validated and immutable shared database of all contractual negotiation.

This could bring the transparency the Croatians crave. Exposing actions like Zdravko Mamic’s behaviour, and preventing future corruption. It would also hold the actions of player’s like Luka Modric accountable. While SAM is not a silver bullet, it will bring the current trade and contract process above board, thus recording these types of interactions. Transparency is in demand in the sports industry and we at STG believe we can help prevent future disputes!