• Germany's news in English

Match-fixing scandal taints Bundesliga

The Local · 4 Feb 2013, 16:41

Published: 04 Feb 2013 16:41 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Warning the integrity of the world's favourite sport was at stake, Europol said a five-country probe had identified 380 suspicious matches targeted by a Singapore-based betting cartel. The illegal activities included bribing players, referees and officials across the world at all levels of the game.

"It is clear to us that this is the biggest investigation ever into suspected match-fixing," Europol chief Rob Wainwright told a news conference in The Hague. "It is the work of a sophisticated organised crime syndicate based in Asia and working with criminal facilitators around Europe."

Europol said that at least 425 referees, players and other officials were suspected of involvement, with matches rigged so that major sums of money could be won through betting.

Most of the allegedly fixed matches were played in the Turkish, German and Swiss championships, but other matches around the world are also of concern. Two of Europe's Champions League matches and some World Cup qualifiers were also suspected, Europol said.

German chief investigator Friedhelm Althans said that showed "the true horrifying nature of the problem" and the implications were stark, including financial losses for legal betting firms, clubs, players and the trust of the supporting public.

"Operating from Singapore by heads of this organisation, bribes of up to €100,000 per match were paid in cash, which was taken all over the world by money couriers," he added.

Althans said around 70 matches in Germany were under suspicion.

"If that figure is true, it would be terrifying," said Germany national team manager Oliver Bierhoff.

The BBC reported that the criminals made upwards of €8 million from the manipulated German games.

Wainwright said he would be writing to the head of European football's governing body UEFA, Michel Platini, but said all of football needed to "heed the warning" and be on guard.

The revelations come after Interpol last month warned that global football corruption was helping to fuel the criminal underworld's domination of prostitution, drug-trafficking and gun-running and in the wake of several high-profile scandals.

They include the so-called "calcioscommesse" or illegal football betting affair in Italy, which overshadowed the country's preparations for last year's European championships and saw several top footballers arrested.

Story continues below…

No details were given about which top-flight matches were involved because some investigations were still on-going, although it was revealed that one of the Champions League matches had been played in England.

Criminals made over $11 million in profits from betting on fixed matches.

Europol showed television coverage of a suspect match, an international between Argentina and Bolivia, during which a Hungarian referee awards a highly dubious penalty.

AFP/DPA/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

17:13 February 4, 2013 by smart2012
Ops, corruption in Germany???
20:52 February 4, 2013 by lucksi
So, how many of the over 425 bribees have been arrested? And what about the bribers?

^no clue if those are words.

But hey, at least you can say the same about soccer than wrestling.

"It's real to me, damnit!"
Today's headlines
Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Eurowings braces as cabin crew union proclaims strike
Photo: DPA

A union representing cabin crew for Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings announced that strikes could take place at any time over the next two weeks, starting on Monday.

Mysterious German U-boat wreckage found off Scotland
Photo: ScottishPower

First World War U-boat "attacked by sea monster” thought to be found off Scottish coast.

Supermarket Edeka warns of exploding apple juice bottles
Photo: DPA

"Risk of injury" from "Gut und Günstig" sparkling apple juice bottles has forced Germany's largest supermarket to recall the product.

By wheelchair from Syria to Germany: teen's story of hope
Nujeen Mustafa. Photo: HarperCollins-William Collins Publicity/Private

She tackled the gruelling 2,000-kilometre migrant trail in a wheelchair, translating along the way for other refugees using English she learned from a US soap opera. Now this teen is living in Germany and hoping to inspire others with a newly published memoir.

Berlin Zoo to have a pair of pandas by next summer
A recently born panda pair at Vienna Zoo. Photo: DPA

The giant bamboo-eating bears will move into a brand new 5,000 square-metre enclosure in the capital's Zoologischer Garten.

Two new spider species discovered in Munich
Zoropsis spinimana. Photo: rankingranqueen / Wikimedia Commons

It's news every arachnophobe in Munich is no doubt thrilled to hear: two types of spider new to the region have been discovered in the Bavarian capital - and one of them bites!

After woman's body found in barrel, husband may walk free
Franziska S., who went missing 24 years ago. Photo: Hanover police.

A woman disappeared in Hanover 24 years ago, but no one reported her missing. Although her husband has now confessed to her murder, he still may not step foot in jail.

Two injured after army tank falls 50 metres in Alps
A Bundeswehr Puma tank. File photo: DPA

A Bundeswehr (German army) soldier has been severely injured after the tank he was riding in crashed 50 metres down an embankment after going off course in bad weather.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
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