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Germany

Scandal Deals Blow to German Soccer

The widening match-fixing scandal is damaging German soccer's image in the build-up to the 2006 World Cup, organizing committee president Franz Beckenbauer said Tuesday.

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The scandal has eclipsed all the talent: Beckenbauer (left)

Criticism of the German Soccer Federation (DFB) deepened on Tuesday after World Cup organizing committee president Franz Beckenbauer added his high-profile weight to the the growing chorus of disgruntled voices.

Speaking at a press conference at the ongoing Berlin Film Festival in the German capital, Beckenbauer, the man in charge of ensuring a successful tournament next year, said a messy compromise deal over the presidency of the DFB and the current match-fixing scandal have all diverted attention from World Cup organization. "Since June the work has been at a standstill while we've had to put out one fire after another," Beckenbauer said.

The DFB is being jointly run until the World Cup is over by outgoing Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder and incoming Theo Zwanziger. Beckenbauer said the co-presidency wasn't working. "The co-presidency was decided in good faith but it cannot work," Beckenbauer said. "Too much effort is being wasted on side issues. But we have to live with this compromise. We've taken the responsibility and we have to see it through."

FIFA-Fanshop für WM 2006 in Leipzig eröffnet

German footballers Bernd Schneider (Bayer Leverkusen, right) und Robert Huth (FC Chelsea London) with the World Cup mascot.

Referring to the match-fixing scandal, which has taken on unforeseen proportions, Beckenbauer said it was tarnishing German soccer's image at a sensitive time when the country is readying to host the World Cup next year. "Every sports newspaper in the world is writing about this," Beckenbauer said. "Naturally, that is creating a negative image." He said that in the interests of the World Cup he hoped the scandal would be "cleared up as quickly as possible."

Ref to be quizzed over 63 matches

On Tuesday, further wide-reaching revelations emerged from the deepening match-fixing scandal.

Der ehemalige DFB-Schiedsrichter Robert Hoyzer verhaftet, Porträt

Robert Hoyzer

Robert Hoyzer, the referee in the eye of the scandal, is to be grilled by police on a total of 63 games he was involved in, the DFB announced.

The federation has handed the list of matches to police in Berlin investigating the 25-year-old who last month admitted manipulating results for cash. The files includes fixtures from the Bundesliga, German Cup, friendlies and an indoor competition. Hoyzer acted as referee in 36 of them, assistant referee in six others and supervisory referee in the remaining 21.

Hoyzer admitted in January to fixing several matches in return for cash from the Croatian bookmaking mafia. He is believed to have received a total of €67,000 ($87,200) and a plasma television screen for manipulating the games. Hoyzer was arrested and placed in police custody on Saturday because of fears he might flee the country.

Repeat of rigged game

A DFB sport panel also decided on Tuesday for the first time to repeat a second league game between LR Ahlen and Wacker Burghausen that Hoyzer apparently rigged. The game originally took place last October with a 1:0 victory for Ahlen. Hoyzer has admitted that he manipulated it with deliberate foul judgments.

"Hoyzer is a notorious liar," said Ahlen's legal counsel Christoph Schickhardt. "Until Saturday he believed he was in the movies and the main protagonist," Schickhardt said referring to Hoyzer's television appearance on various talk shows before his arrest.

The soccer federation also suspended another second-division referee, Dominik Marks, on Tuesday. Marks is said to be "seriously suspected" of fixing two games last year for which he reportedly pocketed €36,000.

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