Shame of German football as corruption trial begins

The disgraced Bundesliga referee, Robert Hoyzer, appeared before a Berlin court alongsideDominik Marks, a fellow referee, Steffen Karl, a player, and the brothers, Filip, Milan and Ante Sapina, to face charges of illegally netting more than €1m in gambling winnings through match fixing.

Their trial is likely to embarrass the German football authorities. The verdict is almost certain to be announced just as the draw for the country's World Cup gets under way in Leipzig on 9 December.

The six are accused of manipulating the results of German soccer games and running an illegal match fixing and gambling operation. State prosecutors listed a total of 23 games in the German football league, as well as a number of Turkish league matches.

The scandal hit the headlines in January this year when the German Football Association announced that it had launched an investigation into the affair.

Mr Hoyzer, 26, who was banned from German football for life after the association uncovered his involvement in five cases of match fixing, told the judge that he couldn't "understand why I did it".

Mr Hoyzer originally denied the charges against him, but later confessed during police custody. He has since kept a low profile.

The ex-referee's evidence is expected to shed light on the full extent of the match-fixing scandal, which may have involved other European games. His lawyer said he hoped his client's readiness to co-operate would result in him being treated leniently. Full and partial confessions from all but Mr Marks mean that guilty verdicts are likely, although there will be debate about the relative importance of the defendants' roles. All six face jail terms of up to 10 years if convicted.

Mr Hoyzer admitted taking a bribe to fix the result of a cup game between SV Hamburg and Paderborn, a regional league team, in August 2004. Hamburg had been winning 2-0 but went on to lose 2-4 after Mr Hoyzer awarded two penalties to Paderborn and sent off Hamburg's striker, Emile Mpenza.

Mr Hoyzer is suspected of fixing or attempting to fix nine soccer games. He is alleged to have been paid €67,000 (£46,000) in bribes. and to have been given a television for his efforts. He faces 11 charges, including complicity to defraud.

His colleague, Mr Marks is charged with of involvement in five cases of match fixing, while his co-accused Mr Karl, a former Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin midfielder, is charged on five counts with helping to throw the result of matches for financial gain.

The gambling operation behind the match fixing is alleged to have been run by the Croatian brothers from their bar in Berlin. Ante, 29, who faces 42 corruption charges is suspected of being the ringleader.

The court was asked to consider a psychiatrist's report to determine whether he was addicted to gambling. Ante told the court that he had started gambling at 16.

Berlin prosecutors have investigated 25 people in connection with the scandal, including 14 players from lower-league clubs. They have also confiscated €2.44m in assets belonging to the Sapina brothers.

The case continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own