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FOOTBALL

Former St. Pauli player admits taking match-fixing bribes

A former striker at Bundesliga club St. Pauli has admitted to pocketing more than €100,000 ($134,000) in bribes to fix five matches in 2008, according to a media report.

Former St. Pauli player admits taking match-fixing bribes
Photo: DPA

The weekly magazine Stern cited Rene Schnitzler as saying in an interview that he had received the cash to manipulate five away matches during the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons when the Hamburg outfit were still in the second division.

He said an agent named “Paul” handed him the money to fix the games, but denied actually doing so.

According to Stern, “Paul” is a Dutch man called Paul Rooij. The magazine

cites documents from prosecutors showing that Rooij placed several hefty bets

in Asia on suspected fixed matches.

Rooij is also thought to have links to several of the alleged ringleaders on trial in Germany accused of fixing more than 30 matches across Europe in what is believed to be European football’s biggest fraud scandal.

Schnitzler added that he was addicted to gambling. “Since the age of 18, there has scarcely been a day I have not gambled,” he told the magazine’s latest edition.

St. Pauli came ninth in the second division in the 2007-2008 season when one of the games in question took place. The four other games took place in the following season when the club came eighth.

They won promotion to the top flight last season, coming second in the league. They are currently 15th in the Bundesliga, just above the drop zone.

St Pauli won one of the five matches in question, drew one and lost three. Schnitzler played the full 90 minutes in only one match, was a non-playing substitute in two and came off the bench for 15 minutes in another. In one of the suspect matches, he did not play at all.

A spokesman for the club, Christian Bönig, said he was “shocked, but not totally surprised” by the revelations.

The club was aware the player had difficulties, had tried to help him but “he would not let himself be helped,” Bönig told rolling news channel N24.

AFP/mry

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

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.

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