Sports News in Brief: Danish football rocked by under-the-table money scandal

Elsewhere, Ajax signs another Dane, Tauson loses senior debut, Danish kicker gets NFL deal and Casper Mortensen wins handball accolades

Danish football has been stunned by new revelations that the sport is rife with under-the-table payments regarding transfers. Many players have reported receiving illicit money over the past two years.

In an anonymous TV2 Sport survey involving the responses from 80 random players in Danish football, it was revealed that 40 players had knowledge of players – themselves or others – being paid off the books.

“It’s very widespread. People change clubs all the time, depending on where they can get the most illicit money. It’s kind of like the Wild West,” one player reported.

READ MORE: Transfer roundup: FCK and FCM shell out as title race begins in earnest

Millions on the line
The envelopes various players receive may only range from 2,000-10,000 kroner, but experts contend that the practice is so prevalent that the total amount could be in millions.

In 2015, the league association Divisionsforeningen introduced more stringent laws for second tier clubs, but cash-in-hand is still widely used in the third tier of Danish football.

“It’s probably difficult to find an industry in Denmark where this is not taking place. We do a lot to tackle this and can guarantee that you will be punished harder than in any other sector. It’s unacceptable for the clubs and everyone else,” Claus Thomsen, the head of Divisionsforeningen, told TV2 News.

Ajax signs another Dane
Ajax Amsterdam have further expanded their already considerable Danish diaspora by signing the 16-year-old talent Christian Rasmussen from FC Nordsjælland. Rasmussen, who has four caps for Denmark’s under-16 national side, will join the Dutch giants this summer in a deal worth around 22 million kroner. The forward/winger will link up with countrymen Kasper Dolberg, Rasmus Nissen Kristensen, Lasse Schöne and Victor Jensen in Amsterdam.

Another Andersen in the NFL?
Morten Andersen kicked his way to legendary Hall of Fame status in NFL in the ‘80s and ‘90s and now another Andersen looks set to follow in his footsteps. Phillip Andersen has signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and hopes to make the 53-man squad for the next season. Andersen, 27, was signed by the Buc from German outfit Berlin Rebels after being scouted at a training camp for kickers recently.

Casper Mortensen gets handball award
Casper U Mortensen just won the handball World Championships with Denmark and now he has capped that feat by being awarded the 2018 European Player of the Year by the European Handball Federation (EHF). The left winger won the award based on a survey involving almost 70,000 voters on EHF social media sites. Mortensen was the Bundesliga topscorer for Hannover before securing a move to Spanish giants Barcelona.

Tauson loses first senior game
Danish tennis starlet Clara Tauson played her first competitive senior match this week as Denmark took on Russia in the Federation Cup. The 16-year-old lost 6-7, 1-6 to Natalia Vikhlyantseva, who is currently ranked 109th in the world in the WTA rankings. The reigning Australian Open junior champ’s teammate Karen Barritza also lost her match, 0-6, 4-6 to world number 14, Daria Kasatkina. The Danes subsequently lost in the doubles as well, and face hosts Poland next. Danish star Caroline Wozniacki was forced to pull out of the Fed Cup due to injury, a decision that could impact her participation at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Jesper Møller elected to UEFA committee
The head of the Danish football association, Jesper Møller, is one of seven new members of the UEFA Executive Committee, following an election in Rome this week. Møller gained 40 votes, the fifth-highest number out of the nine nominees, to ensure his successful election to the powerful committee. Møller said that he hopes to use his position to promote Danish and Nordic interests in football, including getting Denmark to host the women’s European Championship in 2025.

Danish refereeing legend dead
The former Danish top referee Peter Mikkelsen died on January 30 aged just 58 following a long fight against cancer. Mikkelsen, who was regarded as one of the best refs in the world in the ‘90s, was voted the world’s best ref in 1991 and 1993 and marshalled games at World Cups and European Championships from 1990-96 before retiring in 1998. He was also awarded the FIFA Special Referee Award in 2014.

Bears face stern Israeli challenge
Denmark’s top basketball team, the Bakken Bears, have a difficult challenge ahead in the last-16 of the FIBA Europe Cup after being drawn against Israeli side Ironi Ness Ziona. Should the Danes manage to overcome the Israelis, they will face s.Oliver Würzburg from Germany or Avtodor Saratov of Russia in the quarterfinals.