• Germany's news in English

Match-fixing ring rocks European football

AFP · 20 Nov 2009, 17:07

Published: 20 Nov 2009 17:07 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A criminal band operating across Europe is suspected of swaying games in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Austria.

"But this is just the tip of the iceberg," investigating prosecutor Andreas Bachmann said.

They include three Champions League ties, 12 matches in the Europa League, formerly the UEFA Cup, one qualifying game for the under-21 European championship and four from the German second division.

UEFA said it would give details of the matches later, but the 15 at European level involved early qualifying round games, while the rest were under the jurisdictions of national football associations. Most of the matches are believed to have taken place this season.

By bribing players, coaches, referees and officials to influence matches, the criminals are then believed to have earned millions by placing huge bets on the games with bookmakers in Europe and Asia, primarily in China.

"Without doubt this is the biggest scam there has ever been in European football," UEFA's match-fixing specialist Peter Limacher said in Bochum, where the police investigation was organised.

"We are deeply shocked by the scale of match-fixing through international gangs. We now have to do everything possible to ensure that referees, players and officials implicated face justice," Limacher told reporters.

Around 300 police carried out around 50 raids on Thursday in Germany, Britain, Switzerland and Austria, arresting 15 people in Germany and two in Switzerland. More than a €1 million in cash and property were seized.

Two of those arrested in Thursday included two Croatian brothers living in Berlin, Ante and Milan Sapina, who were at the centre of a match-fixing scandal that rocked Germany in 2004, newspapers said.

"UEFA will be demanding the harshest of sanctions before the competent courts for any individuals, clubs or officials who are implicated in this malpractice, be it under state or sports jurisdiction," UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino said in a statement.

Investigators are also looking at 32 matches in Germany, including two in the second division, three in the third, 23 games in regional leagues and two under-19 clashes.

Elsewhere, 29 matches in Turkey from the first division downwards, 14 in Croatia's first division, 13 in Hungary's first division, eight in Bosnia-Herzegovina's top flight and 11 in Austria's first and second leagues.

Story continues below…

In Slovenia, seven games in the first division have raised suspicions, as have 22 league games in the Swiss second division and six friendlies, plus 17 in Belgium's second division, prosecutors said. They warned that the list could get longer.

The 2004 German scandal saw referee Robert Hoyzer sentenced to two years

and five months behind bars after admitting receiving almost €70,000 ($104,000) and a plasma television from a Croatian mafia ring to throw games.

The matches concerned were mainly in the German second and third division, but a German Cup match between first division SV Hamburg and third division Paderborn and a first division match in Turkey were also affected.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

21:46 November 20, 2009 by Davey-jo
Given that everything in Europe is fixed from the politics downwards I don't see how football could expect escape.
21:56 November 20, 2009 by duckys
the ireland game should be looked at from last week as well :)
02:26 November 21, 2009 by beeker
The game goes on. Makes the footie hooligans look more like idiots when they riot after a fixxed win or loss of the "home" team. Or is the riot a part of the show?

Are the Coporate owners involved at top level teams? Funny if it caught up sponsors like AIG.
Today's headlines
Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Four Ku Klux Klan groups active in Germany, says govt
An American member of the KKK at a gathering in Georgia. Photo: EPA.

The German government estimates that there are four Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups currently active in the country, according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) on Tuesday.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd