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.


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German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.