While prosecutors investigate possible match-fixing in the second division, they dismissed a report against Bastian Schweinsteiger, who may still get his day in court -- with a Munich newspaper sitting in the dock.
Schweinsteiger, middle, always got support from his team mates and club
German prosecutors on Friday said there was absolutely no evidence to support a newspaper claim that German international Bastian Schweinsteiger may have been involved in match-fixing.
The Munich daily TZ published an article two weeks ago alleging that police interviewed Schweinsteiger along with three other players on suspicion of betting large sums on matches whose results might have been fixed.
The paper has since retracted the allegations in a front page apology and fired its sports editor and editor-in-chief.
"I can now categorically state that none of the alleged offences took place," magistrate Anton Winkler said after investigating the allegations. "The betting information that we found at bookmakers brought no proof of match-fixing."
Schweinsteiger said he plans to take the Munich paper to court
Munich paper to face libel charges
Schweinsteiger, who plays for Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich, is suing the paper for libel.
A first-division scandal in German soccer would have been badly-timed with the World Cup finals coming up in June and after referee Robert Hoyzer was sent to prison last November for influencing the results of matches.
Inquiries continue in Frankfurt
Criminal prosecutors in Frankfurt are continuing their investigations of at least two players in Germany's second and third divisions with their attention focused on the regional league's TSG Hoffenheim. Team captain
"From what I have heard, nothing was confiscated or taken," Hoffenheim President Peter Hofmann said, referring to a police search of the team captain's apartment.
The German Soccer Association (DFB) is also running investigations of its own, calling on players with information about possible match manipulation to come forward in exchange for leniency.
"There have be a few reports," said Horst Hilpert, chairman of the DFB's control committee. He declined to give more detailed information on the players or teams concerned, saying the investigations were still running.