German police raid homes of referees over match-fixing allegations

ONE OF the worst scandals in Germany's sporting history took a dramatic turn yesterday, when police raided the homes of three senior football referees suspected of match-fixing and claimed that investigations were leading to the very top of the national game.

At least 25 referees and players are now believed to be implicated in the scandal, which broke last week after the Robert Hoyzer, a referee, admitted rigging matches and accepting payments from a betting ring linked to the Croatian mafia. State prosecutors said they were considering charges of illicit and organised deception against the suspects. The scandal has astounded senior German football figures and is a serious embarrassment to the country that will host the 2006 World Cup. Franz Beckenbauer, who is leading the German World Cup hosting arrangements, described the affair as a "disgrace."

Yesterday's raids focused on the home of the First Division referee Jurgen Jansen, who is alleged to have fixed a game between the Kaiserslautern and FC Freiburg teams in November last year. The match resulted in a 3- 0 victory for Kaiserslautern. Mr Jansen denied all the allegations. The possible involvement of a bundesliga referee in the affair marked a turning- point. Football officials had insisted the scandal was limited to German second division clubs and lower.

As outrage across Germany grows, the German football association is under pressure to suspend all referees named in connection with the scandal and to prohibit them from officiating at games this weekend. German politicians have also demanded that guilty referees be banned from football for life.

Other referees, whose homes were searched, included Felix Zwayer, Domink Marks and Wieland Ziller, an adviser to referees. The homes of 14 players were also investigated. Three Croatians have already been arrested in connection with the scandal.

The 25 players and referees under suspicion, are believed to have fixed at least 10 German second division soccer games and to have won millions as a result of bets. The players include members of the second division club SC Paderborn who have already confessed to involvement in match-fixing. The others include members of the second division clubs, Energie Cottbus, Chemnitz FC and the prestigious Dynamo Dresden.

Last Friday, police raided the scene of the illicit betting transactions, Cafe King, a sporting pub-cafe in the Berlin district of Charlottenburg. The owners, a Croatian family, are believed to have earned a minimum of Û2.44m (pounds 1.68m) from match-fixing. Police have seized property and assets, mostly in luxury cars, in case of compensation claims.

The match-fixing already admitted was remarkably brazen. In a Hamburg SV and Paderborn match, Hoyzer said he had sent off one Hamburg player and awarded Paderborn two penalties to complete the fix. Hamburg had been leading 2-0 but went on to lose 4-2 and the team's manager Klaus Topmoeller was later sacked as a result. Hoyzer has issued a statement in which he claimed he "profoundly" regretted his actions and wished to apologise. He was reported to have agreed to name the names of players and other referees involved in the scandal.

The subsequent disclosures were thought to have prompted yesterday's police raids. Hoyzer, who now fears retribution from members of the Croatian match-fixing gang, is in hiding at a secret address in Germany's Ruhr region.

He faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence if convicted, but his lawyer Stephan Holthoff-Pfortner indicated yesterday that his client was banking on his sentence being reduced because he intended to act as a key witness. Prosecutors are also said to be investigating 40 gambling companies and 300 betting offices across Germany.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Life and Style
fashion David Beckham fronts adverts for his underwear collection
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
i100Most young people can't
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Head of Service and Support (Financial Services, ITIL, ORC, TT)

£75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of Service and Support (Financial Ser...

Calypso Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, J2EE, JAXB, ...

Service Delivery Manager - ITIL / ServiceNow / Derivatives

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading Financial Services orga...

Senior Quantitative Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home