German international linked to betting scandal
17 March 2006, MUNICH - Bayern Munich club manager Uli Hoeness reacted angrily Thursday to a media report linking midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger to a betting scandal.
17 March 2006
MUNICH - Bayern Munich club manager Uli Hoeness reacted angrily Thursday to a media report linking midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger to a betting scandal.
Munich's tz newspaper reported that three professional footballers in the city, Bayern midfielder Schweinsteiger who is a German international and two footballers from second division 1860 Munich, were involved in a betting scandal.
The report follows a programme broadcast on the German state television channel ARD which claimed an unnamed German international had contacts to a betting mafia and that German Bundesliga footballers took bribes to fix matches.
"We have immediately employed a lawyer," Hoeness told Friday's edition of the Tagesspiegel. "If what we hear is true then there will be case brought against the tz that will run into millions."
Hoeness said Schweinsteiger has told Bayern that "he never bet a single euro on a game" but that Munich's prosecution office had confirmed there were unsubstantiated accusations that at the moment were completely unverifiable.
Munich's chief prosecutor denied to Deutsche Press-Agentur that Schweinsteiger was involved in a betting scandal.
"The prosecution service has not interviewed anyone. We are currently evaluating the information," Anton Winkler told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
"There is still no accused and still no named suspects," he said.
Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff reacted angrily to what he considers unsubstantiated reports.
"I find it irresponsible when speculation is enough to carry out a smear campaign against our international players," said Bierhoff.
German football federation (DFB) president Theo Zwanziger said his organization would work in future to protect international players from unsubstantiated accusations.
"The actions and behaviour of certain media groups are irresponsible, ill-mannered and damage the good reputation of players, Bundesliga clubs and the national team" said Zwanziger.
The tz report also mentioned 1860 Munich players Quido Lanzaat and his team-mate Paul Agostino.
"I have nothing to do with it. I've also told the club that," said Lanzaat. "I haven't bet on games involving my club in the past and won't do it in the future either."
Lanzaat also told the Tagesspiegel that he believed Agostino was in the same position.
"It was only a rumour with me and I assume it's also a rumour with Paul Agostino. The people who have evidence should come forward because I know why my name came into it," he said.
"It has nothing to do with anyone if I ever betted. As far as I know it's not illegal to bet on matches. I don't want to say any more.
"The people who are investigating this can't afford to make any mistakes. I am now marked with a stamp on my forehead. I am considering taking legal action about it."
On Wednesday, 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.
"A German international must earn enough money to be able to do without such adventures," said 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."
Subject: German news