German referee bribe suspicion emerges in match-fixing scandal

A referee from the German Football Association (DFB) was allegedly bribed during the enormous football match-fixing scandal uncovered last week, according to Der Spiegel magazine.

German referee bribe suspicion emerges in match-fixing scandal
Ref Robert Hoyzer got 2 1/2 years in jail for a 2004 scandal. Photo: DPA

The referee was in charge of a southern regional league game in May when he supposedly took money to influence the outcome.

The regional club SSV Ulm 1846 is also allegedly more heavily involved in the scandal as previously thought, with four of its games from the final phase of last year’s season considered suspect.

The state prosecutor in Bochum, which is leading the investigation, says that around 200 European games, including 32 in Germany, could have been manipulated.

Three games in the third league, 18 in the regional leagues, five in the upper league, two under-19 games and four games from the second Bundesliga are affected.

Games in eight other European countries are also being investigated, largely first-league matches.

In addition the suspicion is that games in the top European competitions could have been fixed, with 12 in the Europa League and three of the Champions League matches being examined.

Around 200 people, including trainers, players and referees are suspected to have been involved in the manipulation. These include two former and one current player in third-league VfL Osnabrück, according to a report in Die Welt newspaper on Saturday.

The leaders of the match fixing ring are said to live in Berlin, Nuremberg, the Ruhr area and a town near Osnabrück, reports Der Spiegel.

The scandal looks like it is the biggest in European football history, putting the credibility of the sport into question. Peter Limacher, head of the disciplinary office of the European football association Uefa, said officials had been shocked by “the scale of the coordinated game manipulation of these international gangs.”

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Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.