May 9, 2024 2 min read

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Fans Question Zwayer’s Appointment as Europa Conference League Referee

The referee was banned from the soccer sector for six months for alleged involvement in the 2005 German soccer match-fixing scandal

People have questioned UEFA’s decision to appoint Felix Zwayer as the referee for the Europa Conference League semi-final between Aston Villa and Olympiacos. Fans voiced their concerns about Zwayer’s past involvement in a match-fixing scandal, questioning his suitability to oversee such a big game.

As the clash between the EPL powerhouse and the Greek champion approaches, fans raised their concerns about Zwayer’s past ban. For context, the referee was banned from the soccer sector for six months for alleged involvement in the 2005 German soccer match-fixing scandal.

The original scandal dates to 2004 when Robert Hoyzer, another soccer referee, handed two phantom penalties to Hamburger SV during their match against SC Paderborn. This resulted in a loss for the Bundesliga team, defying fans’ expectations.

Referees became suspicious of Hoyzer’s penalties and reported the matter to the German Football Association (DFB). Additionally, an online gambling operator reported irregular betting patterns, prompting a criminal investigation.

The event has been described as the largest controversy in German soccer since the 70s’ Bundesliga scandal.

Hoyzer Cooperated with the Authorities

Eventually, the referee confessed to having wagered on sports. Hoyzer also admitted that he had accepted bribes to manipulate games from a criminal organization.

Thanks to Hoyzer’s confessions and collaboration, the German authorities were able to arrest and convict many gambling syndicate members. The criminal organization had won approximately half a million euros from the game between Paderborn and Hamburger.

In his testimony, Hoyzer also implicated Zwayer, saying that the fellow referee had accepted a EUR 300 prior to a game between Werder Bremen and SV Wuppertal. Zwayer served as a linesman in the game and was asked to “avoid critical situations for Wuppertaler SV.”

However, the DFB was unable to confirm that Zwayer had manipulated the game. Thanks to his cooperation, he got off with a six-month ban. Hoyzer, who was not so lucky, was handed a two-year prison sentence and was banned from soccer for life.

As it turns out, the government did not publicly announce Zwayer’s alleged involvement in the scheme until it was reported by a German newspaper in 2014. Several years after this discovery, athlete Jude Bellingham critiqued Zwayer’s refereeing, alleging corruption. Because of that, the DFB issued a fine of EUR 40,000 to the player.

Journalist

Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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