German betting scandal could involve Bundesliga

15th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

15 March 2006, HAMBURG - A new betting scandal is brewing in German football just three months before the country hosts the World Cup with allegations circulating that a national team player took bribes to fix matches.

15 March 2006

HAMBURG - A new betting scandal is brewing in German football just three months before the country hosts the World Cup with allegations circulating that a national team player took bribes to fix matches.

The revelations that several Bundesliga players, including an international were involved in the scheme, were made in a programme called Plusminus, which was broadcast on the German state television channel ARD.

"If the situation requires it, we will begin an investigation," Munich Chief Prosecutor Anton Winkler told Deutsche Presse-Agentur Wednesday, adding that the collection and checking of information could take several days.

"We can't and won't name names," he said.

World Cup organizing committee boss Franz Beckenbauer reacted in disbelief to the allegations, and said they would have a negative impact even if they turned out to be untrue.

"It will naturally go around the world. It's not exactly what our organization wanted," he said.

"A German international must earn enough money to be able to do without such adventures," added the German footballing legend.

Researchers for the television programme spent several months investigating Germany's illegal betting scene, which it claimed had close contacts with several Bundesliga players.

"I was personally at one such meeting," said one informant, "where a Bundesliga player said 'we will lose tomorrow'. He then proceeded to bet 10,000 euros (12,000 dollars) against his own team. I heard every word."

According to the informant, a betting godfather meets with footballers, who also place bets. He then telephones his middle men throughout Europe while accomplices place small bets in different bookmakers.

Last November, former German football referee Robert Hoyzer was sentenced to two years and five months in prison for fraud following a match-fixing and betting scheme.

The mastermind of the scheme, Ante Sapina, was given two years 11 months behind bars.

The five men were charged with professional and organised fraud in which Hoyzer and Marks manipulated games in the German second and third division and the German cup to allow Sapina to place high bets on games.

A total 23 games are believed to have been fixed April-December 2004, with the Sapina brothers earning more than 2 million euros from it.

Hoyzer admitted to having received 67,000 euros (78,000 dollars) to manipulate games and shared his knowledge with the prosecution.

DPA

Subject: German news

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