Germany widen probe on match-fixing

BERLIN: The German Football Association (DFB) set up a special commission on Monday to investigate possible match-fixing amid growing signs the country’s worst sporting scandal for 30 years may go deeper than first thought. 

The announcement followed an admission by regional side SC Paderborn that their captain took money from an unidentified man before a game at the centre of the scandal. 

Dutchman Thijs Waterink accepted 10,000 euros shortly before Paderborn’s German Cup tie against Hamburg SV on the understanding he could keep the money if his side won. 

“I think this 10,000 euros could be just the tip of the iceberg,” club president Wilfried Finke told a news conference. 

The first round match on Aug 21 was refereed by Robert Hoyzer who admitted last week that he had fixed matches. 

Late on Monday, German sports news agency SID quoted a player from Second Division side Dynamo Dresden who also said he had accepted payment from an individual following a match. 

Goalkeeper Ignac Kresic told the agency he had taken 15,000 euros after a regional league victory against Preussen Muenster in June 2003. “It is correct that we got additional money for this victory from a third party,” he was quoted as saying. 

Germany are hosting the 2006 World Cup and FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, have urged the DFB to resolve the scandal as quickly as possible. 

The DFB said appeals had been launched against a total of nine matches, including four Second Division games, three Cup fixtures and two matches in the northern regional league. They said the special commission would examine all information on the affair as it emerged. 

“It is very important that these steps help us achieve what we need, namely to find the truth,” DFB president Theo Zwanziger told a news conference in Frankfurt on Monday evening. 

Berlin prosecutors have launched a separate investigation of their own into the affair but have not shared the results of their inquiries with the DFB. 

On Monday, German daily Bild published the names of three other referees and nine players from lower division clubs whom it said Hoyzer had implicated in the affair. 

In the game at the centre of the scandal, First Division Hamburg took a 2-0 lead before losing 4-2 after Hoyzer sent off their striker and awarded Paderborn two controversial penalties. 

Finke said he was willing to hold a rematch with Hamburg, who have said the result must be declared void. However, the quarter-finals are only four weeks away. 

Paderborn lost on penalties to Freiburg in the third round. 

Finke said there was no indication Waterink had sought to fix the result, just seek an additional bonus for victory. The club were also offering the team a far higher bonus for a win. 

He added Waterink, whom the club have temporarily released, had not told his teammates about the money before the match, paying them 500 euros each a day later. 

Bild said on its website on Monday that Hoyzer had named three other referees, including Juergen Jansen who was pulled from Sunday’s Bundesliga match between Werder Bremen and Hansa Rostock as a precaution. 

The DFB said on Sunday that Jansen, who has denied any involvement in the affair, was not under suspicion. 

Bild said Hoyzer had also named Waterink and eight other players. 

Munich-based bookmaker ODDSET gave details on Monday of unusually heavy betting, predominantly from Berlin, on two matches under Hoyzer’s control. It said it had written to the DFB about the matter on Aug 23. 

Berlin prosecutors say the DFB have notified them of a suspected link between Hoyzer and a Berlin bar frequented by Croatian gamblers. Finke said Waterink had described his contact as being of south European appearance. 

The authorities are holding three men detained on Friday. 

Investigations are concentrating on the first-round Cup tie, two Second Division games and three regional league matches. 

Germany were rocked by a corruption scandal in 1971, with sanctions imposed on 53 players, two coaches, six officials and clubs Arminia Bielefeld and Kickers Offenbach. – Reuters 

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