On the day that disgraced referee Robert Hoyzer escaped a huge fine, German soccer authorities sat down to debate the future of betting in the sport in a bid to avoid scandals in the future.
The DFB says Hoyzer's lifetime ban is punishment enough
Disgraced referee Robert Hoyzer has escaped a 50,000-euro ($64,885) fine because the German Football Federation (DFB) believes a life ban for match-fixing is punishment enough, DFB communications chief Harald Stenger revealed on Wednesday.
"The DFB control panel and their chairman, Horst Hilpert, have decided not to fine Robert Hoyzer 50,000 euros," said Stenger. "But the panel is still demanding a life ban to ensure he never referees another football match."
Berlin official Hoyzer, 25, has admitted to fixing four matches in the biggest scandal in German football since 1971. He was subsequently suspended by the DFB and arrested in February before being released on police bail after relinquishing his passport.
The disgraced former official is said to have picked up around 67,000 euros and a widescreen television after working in collaboration with Croatian mafia circles in Berlin. It was reported earlier in the year that he not only fixed matches but also worked to corrupt other officials at the behest of his underworld paymasters who reaped huge benefits by betting on the matches Hoyzer had been paid to rig.
Hoyzer is said to have been paid a "finder's fee" by the Croatian mafia, banking a reported 10,000 euros for corrupting a Bundesliga referee with 5000 euros -- the purse for performing a similar task on a lower division official.
Betting practices under the microscope
The DFB and DFL are meeting to discuss ways to avoid future betting scandals
In the wake of the scandal and the associated concerns centered on betting practices, The DFB and German Soccer League (DFL) signed a rolling contract with security company 'Betradar' in March to monitor betting in German soccer. "The DFL and DFB have reached an agreement with Betradar and will work alongside bookmakers in the future," Wilfried Straub, business leader of DFL, told German newspaper Die Welt last month.
Betradar has over a 100 betting offices under its wing and uses extensive contacts to report on strange betting patterns and German soccer authorities hope using their expertise will prevent a repeat of the Hoyzer scandal.
The DFB and DFL are expected to take further steps to prevent the manipulation of matches and betting scandals on Wednesday at an emergency meeting in Mainz. The proposed plan includes a special operating license for bookmakers to take bets on soccer matches which the authorities hope will be in place for the 2006/07 season. The two authorities are also likely to agree on a ban on players, club officials and match officials from betting on games.
Emergency federation meeting looks to prevention
Theo Zwanziger, Vizepraesident des Organisationskomitees der Fussball-WM 2006, spricht waehrend einer Pressekonferenz in Leipzig am Dienstag, 27. Juli 2004, wo eines der ersten der insgesamt 12 Aussenbueros zur Vorbereitung der WM die Arbeit aufnahm. (AP Photo/Eckehard Schulz)
"The DFL has submitted a proposal for a license for bookmakers in Germany to which the board of directors of the DFB has given its initial approval," DFL president Werner Hackmann said in a statement.
Also on the agenda is a proposed betting network operated by both the DFB and DFL and an agreement with existing bookmakers which would see betting shops that offer odds on Bundesliga games paying royalties for the privilege to the DFL.
DFB and DFL look to control betting sector
DFB president Theo Zwanziger has let it be known that he is in favor of all soccer betting coming under the protection of the DFB and DFL after the World Cup is over in 2006.
The betting industry in Germany generates an estimated three billion euros annually, a large pie that the soccer associations want to get a bigger slice of. Ideally, Zwanziger (photo) and his fellow soccer bigwigs would like to have that pie and eat it.
It is becoming more apparent that both the DFB and DFL have come to some agreement already of taking the betting industry's soccer sector under a mutual wing although it appears that until now betting monopolist Oddset has yet to be consulted. German sports broadcaster DSF are also preparing to launch its own betting service.
Federation plan could raise conflict of interests
The German government would be glad to see one competitor challenge Oddset's monopoly and the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe is likely to address the possibility of ending the monopoly in the future but there is growing opposition for that competitor to be a combination of the DFB and DFL among established bookmakers.
Detlef Train, head of Austrian bookmaker Intertops, said that a federation-owned betting service "could not be neutral" with a conflict of interest to large to ignore.