International cover-up

Without the fans’ knowledge, Bundesliga clubs are advertising unlicensed Chinese gambling companies on international broadcasts of their matches. A Swiss company run by Sepp Blatter’s nephew is a key dealmaker.

By Jack Kerr, Philippe Auclair and Steve Menary

Matchday 8 of the Bundesliga season saw the high-flying Borussia Dortmund welcome struggling Werder Bremen to the Westfalenstadion.

Five minutes in, and Julian Brandt received the ball, so close to his left touchline that it was impossible to ignore the advertising hoarding behind him.

Those at the venue or watching the game on German TV saw an advertisement for cyber security company ESET behind him.

“Dein Gaming: Geschützt“ read the slogan behind Brandt, as he dribbled into a dangerous, more central position. “Your Gaming: Protected.”

Those watching in the rest of the world, however, saw something entirely different: a “virtual” advertisement, promoting a Chinese gambling company that operates under a fake licence. 

Viewers of the world feed (left) were shown an ad for Bandao. A close-up (right) revealed that an ad for a cyber security company was actually being shown at the venue. 

Football competitions have long broadcast ...

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