Bundesliga Match Fixing Scandal


German football was rocked to its very foundations at the beginning of 2005. Robert Hoyzer, a German Second Division football referee, admitted to fixing and betting on matches in the Second Division, Third Division and the German Cup. His trial exposed a 2 million Euro betting racket in Germany. This was particularly unsettling for the nation as they were preparing to host the 2006 World Cup.

Hoyzer had refereed a cup match between Paderborn, a regional team, and Hamburg, a First Division outfit. Hamburg lost the match 4-2 as a result of two dubious penalties that had been awarded to Paderborn. The referee also sent off a Hamburg player for protesting, condemning the team to elimination from the lucrative competition.

The German Football Association, the Deutscher Fussball-Bund, were alerted about Hoyzer by other referees. As soon as he became aware of the allegations against him, Hoyzer stepped down from officiating. Hoyzer co-operated with the investigation uncovering the full details of the scheme and implicating other officials, players and a group of Croatian-based gamblers.

It appeared that Hoyzer had regular meetings in Berlin with associates of a Croatian gambling syndicate that were connected to an organised crime group. Two brothers, Milan and Philip Sapina, who operated a betting agency and three Hertha Berlin players, Alexander Madlung, Nando Rafael and Josip Simunic, were all taken into custody regarding the scandal.

The three players had all played in a surprising 3-2 defeat against a third division side, with Madlung scoring an own goal four minutes after entering the game as a substitute. The trio came under suspicion for having been known to associate with the Sapina brothers, but there has been no proof that they actually participated in the manipulation of this or any other match.

As a result of the investigation Hoyzer and another referee, Dominic Marks, were banned for life from having any future involvement in football. Hoyzer, Marks and five other defendants also received prison sentences. Another referee, Torsten Koop, was suspended for three months for not promptly reporting Hoyzer.

The German Football Association decided that some games would have to be replayed and some results should stand. They also ruled that Hamburg would receive up to 2 million Euros for their enforced early exit from the German Cup.

A number of measures have been taken to prevent any similar incidents in the future, including observing referees for longer until they make the step up to the Second Division, utilsing video replays more extensively and a system for dealing with identifying any potential problems. The German Football Association also proposed to offer its own sports betting program for the league in 2006-07 in order to have some control and oversight of the popular and lucrative sideline.


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