The Danish side, Viborg FF, has expressed intentions of suing a 25-year-old man from The Netherlands, Bernio Verhagen, who they claim is not an actual soccer player as advertised by his agent.
Viborg admitted that they never saw Verhagen, a Surinamese, play but took the word of his agent prior to giving him a professional contract. The soccer club is also suing Verhagen’s agents.
According to Reuters, the club is alleging fraud and so far filed a criminal complaint with Danish authorities.
Verhagen’s supposed incompetence became apparent to Viborg only after he had been asked to join a training session. According to the club, the coaches saw through the trick right away and pulled him out.
Viborg is calling what has happened a “clear picture of a larger scam” which includes people from other countries.
They had been told Verhagen once played for Audax Italiano, a popular Chilean club.
Verhagen was also believed to have played for Dinamo-Auto of Moldova. But head coach at Dinamo-Auto, Igor Dobrovolsky, reportedly has not heard of him.
And there is the South African club, Cape Town City, whose owner John Comitis, denies ever offering Verhagen a contract, as presumed.
Comitis told Reuters: “He was never registered or has [he] played for Cape Town City. He was going to, but we discovered that something was not right, so we pulled out of giving him an official contract.”
It is unusual for soccer clubs to give professional contracts to players they have never seen play. However, the relationships small soccer clubs have with sports agents border on identifying the next big player while they are young and/or cheap.
But sports agents can take advantage of these relationships. They may market averagely talented players to small European clubs and secure short term contracts until there is an opportunity to sell these players to rich clubs in the Gulf region or Asia.