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Match fixing in Germany

Although the German Bundesliga remains one of the most respected in Europe, it has been affected by scandal at various points in its history.

In 1965 Hertha Berlin were demoted for illegal player payments, and six years later Armenia Bielefeld suffered a similar fate and more than 50 players as well as coaches and match officials were suspended for their involvement in a match-fixing ring.

However, arguably the biggest cause célèbre occurred in 2005, when German football was rocked by the news of a €2 million match-fixing scandal centred around one man, referee Robert Hoyzer.

It was especially embarrassing as the country was scheduled to host the 2006 World Cup the following year, and the press was full of links between numerous players, coaches, and officials to an organised crime group.

Hoyzer, who refereed primarily in second division (Bundesliga 2) matches is alleged to have met on a  regular basis in Berlin members of a Croatian gambling syndicate with links to organised crime.  In return for a large bribe, they persuaded Hoyzer to either fix the result of matches himself, or persuade other referees to alter the outcome of games in exchange for money.

Although no top-flight results were affected, the results of several lower league games came under suspicion as well as a German cup match between Hamburg and Paderborn. Hamburg were a top team at the time but suffered a shock defeat to Paderborn, courtesy of two highly dubious penalties that were awarded against them.

When four other referees took their suspicions about Hoyzer to the German Football Association (DFB) the authorities initially declined to take any action.

However, when Hoyzer became aware of the accusations against him he stepped-down from his refereeing duties and made a full confession. He subsequently co-operated with an investigation by the league and well as the resulting criminal proceedings.

Subsequently, he was banned from life for any involvement in football and also was given a two year five month prison sentence.

Another referee, Dominic Marks was banned for life, and was given a one year, six month jail term, whilst two other match officials Felix Zwayer and Torsten Koop received lesser sentences for their role in the affair.

The three Croatian brothers behind the scheme were given jail terms of varying lengths, whilst all the matches involving the corrupt officials and players implicated in the scheme were subject to review by the league.

A subsequent review determined that, whilst the results of some matches were allowed to stand, others had to be replayed. Estimates vary as to how many matches were really affected in the end, although the general consensus that seven games were deliberately manipulated by officials and players with whom they colluded.

Hamburg, meanwhile, were given financial compensation for their enforced early exit from the German Cup and several other teams whose results were also compromised also received financial recompense.

More fundamentally a number of changes were implemented to ensure better oversight of  referees and other match officials.

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