Referees hold crisis talks in match-fixing scandal

25th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

25 January 2005, FRANKFURT - Germany's leading football referees have been called to a crisis meeting this week amid allegations a match official fixed or tried to fix the outcome of at least six games. The German Football Federation (DFB) on Tuesday called the first and second division Bundesliga referees to the meeting at the federation's headquarters in Frankfurt on Thursday. Prosecutors have opened preliminary investigations into 25-year-old referee Robert Hoyzer with a view to bringing criminal charge

25 January 2005

FRANKFURT - Germany's leading football referees have been called to a crisis meeting this week amid allegations a match official fixed or tried to fix the outcome of at least six games.

The German Football Federation (DFB) on Tuesday called the first and second division Bundesliga referees to the meeting at the federation's headquarters in Frankfurt on Thursday.

Prosecutors have opened preliminary investigations into 25-year-old referee Robert Hoyzer with a view to bringing criminal charges over allegations he helped rig matches.

Unconfirmed media reports said other referees may be involved in helping a "betting mafia" which often places substantial bets on relatively unimportant lower division games.

However, DFB co-president Theo Zwanziger said officials were still acting on the assumption it was an isolated case.

The match-fixing scandal has shocked German football as it gears up to host the 2006 World Cup.

The allegations against Hoyzer concern a cup match, two second division matches and three games in the northern regional league this season. The DFB has not ruled out the possibility of other matches having been affected.

Four match officials came forward Tuesday to say they had instigated the DFB probe after contacting the federation about irregularities concerning games refereed by Hoyzer.

The officials, including two Bundesliga referees, said in a statement they had taken their concerns to the DFB after hearing of "indications, information and testimony" concerning the matches.

They said they had not accused Hoyzer of cheating or betting on matches he was refereeing, but believed their information was such that it had to be looked into for the good of the game.

One of the officials, assistant referee (linesman) Felix Zwayer, said in interviews he had received a phone call from an unnamed person asking him to "influence" the second division game between Rot-Weiss Essen and Cologne.

The match last October - which was not refereed by Hoyzer - is one of those being investigated.

However none of the match officials of that game are under suspicion and its referee, Manuel Graefe, will be in charge of Saturday's Bundesliga meeting between Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Moenchengladbach, the DFB said.

A focus of the DFB probe into Hoyzer concerns the first-round German Cup match in August between first division SV Hamburg and regional third division outfit Paderborn.

It emerged that a huge bet had been taken on the match in Paderborn in which the lower division side came from 2-0 down to win 4-2 with the help of two controversial penalties and a red card shown to Hamburg striker Emile Mpenza.

Hoyzer, who has officiated games in the cup and second and third divisions but not the first division over the past two years, has resigned his refereeing licence but denies all wrongdoing.

Hoyzer was regarded as a shooting star among the country's referees, media reports said.

He was marked as the second best referee in the second division last season in an internal DFB ranking. Reports said he nearly always received high marks for his performances from the experienced refereeing adjudicators who monitor match officials.

However the monitoring does not extend to regional league games or to the first round of the German Cup.

Referees' instructor Eugen Striegel said any mistakes on Hoyzer's part would have been put down to human error. A suspicion of manipulation was "until now absolutely inconceivable". 

 

DPA

Subject: German news 

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