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Sports

Bent German Referee Admits Match-Rigging

Robert Hoyzer, the referee in the middle of Germany's biggest soccer scandal for 34 years, admitted match-fixing on Thursday, a day after suspicions of mafia involvement were raised in the case against him.

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Hoyzer admitted fixing the HSV - Paderborn match and four others

Robert Hoyzer, the German soccer referee at the center of the country's biggest soccer scandal for 34 years, has admitted that he manipulated a cup match between lowly SC Paderborn and Bundesliga side Hamburg SV. Hoyzer's decisions during the German Cup first round match in August last year handed the result to Paderborn.

TV news channel N24 reported that Hoyzer had told his lawyer he had fixed the result of the German Cup game, and also admitted to manipulating the results of at least four other matches.

It is assumed that Hoyzer's admission comes in the hope of leniency after the German Football Federation (DFB) announced on Wednesday it had taken legal action against the referee. Hoyzer is already the subject of an internal DFB inquiry looking into claims that he bet on the results of at least five matches he handled. And now he faces a legal probe by a court in Berlin.

By making a formal legal complaint, the DFB is hoping to flush out the people who stood to gain by the alleged match fixing. In a statement the DFB said they wanted to reveal the identity of "people who bet huge sums on matches refereed by Robert Hoyzer". The DFB said it also wanted to establish if these people had any links with the 25-year-old referee.

Earlier, German Interior Minister Otto Schily demanded a thorough investigation into the alleged match-fixing. "Referees who manipulate the result of matches for their own benefit must be shown a red card and sent packing," he told the Bild daily.

Investigation unearths suspected mafia links

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Is the mafia behind Hoyzer's match-rigging?

Things got worse for Hozyer on Thursday when he was linked to Croatian mafia betting rings in Berlin. The DFB believes Hoyzer had been fixing matches so gangsters could benefit from huge wagers. "There appears to have been some contact with the Croat scene in Berlin," confirmed DFB press spokesman Harald Stenger.

Rolf Hocke, vice-president of the DFB, fuelled the mafia link, indicating that Felix Zwayer, Hoyzer's assistant, was threatened by the Croatian mafia before a second division match between Rot-Weiss Essen and FC Cologne in October last year.

"Zwayer was threatened on the phone and we know that Hoyzer was accompanied to away matches by Croats," Hocke told the Suddeutsche Zeitung."I can count down on five fingers why he had an entourage."

Bild claims that Berlin, where Hoyzer lives, is the headquarters of a Croatian betting mafia ring, claiming that a Croat made €500,000 ($651,000) from SC Paderborn's 4-2 win over SV Hamburg on August 21 last year.

Schiedsrichter Rober Hoyzer, Spiel HSV gegen SC Paderborn

Hamburg's Sergei Barbarez was clearly on the right track when questioning Hoyzer's decisions.

Hoyzer was the offical for that cup tie, awarding Paderborn two questionable penalties and sending off Hamburg's Emile Mpenza for complaining as Hamburg surrendered a two-goal lead.

DFB looks to shore up security

In the wake of the Hoyzer affair, the German Football League (DFL) are on the brink of signing a contract with betting protection providers Betradar according to Kicker magazine. Betradar works in collaboration with 170 bookmakers and can immediately alert the DFL to any abnormal betting patterns on German football matches.

The DFB are also investigating the possibility that another referee, Dominik Marks, may have also been involved in rigging results, notably the game between Hertha Berlin and Arminia Bielefeld won by Berlin 2-1 on Aug. 11 last year.

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