Germans off the hook if they give to charity
BERLIN: The German football association (DFB) said on Friday that they would drop their case against the players and coach of a regional league side for accepting money from a Croatian gambling gang if they agreed to pay a fine to charity.
The decision is the latest step by the DFB in the match-fixing scandal that has rocked the country hosting the 2006 World Cup Finals.
SC Paderborn have been embroiled in the scandal after Robert Hoyzer, the referee at the centre of allegations, acknowledged he had engineered their victory over Hamburg SV in the first round of this season's German Cup.
Paderborn skipper Thijs Waterink later admitted he had accepted 10,000 euros (US$13,200) from an unidentified man before the game on Aug 21, 2004.
Paderborn have said Waterink, whom the club temporarily released, had not told his team mates about the money before the match, paying them 500 euros each a day later.
The DFB's control commission said in a statement it would be willing to drop the case if the 19 Paderborn players paid double the amount they received and the coach four times. The DFB said it would give the money to charity.
Paderborn have said there was no indication Waterink had sought to fix the result, but had just seen it as an extra bonus. The club themselves were also offering a far higher bonus for a win.
In the match, first division Hamburg took a 2-0 lead before losing 4-2 after Hoyzer sent off their striker Emile Mpenza and awarded Paderborn two controversial penalties.
On Friday, the DFB lifted Mpenza's three-match suspension.
The control commission has questioned 58 witnesses since revelations first surfaced at the end of January.
“The goal of the control commission is to have assessed all the witness hearings and to have passed on the appropriate motions to the DFB sports tribunal by the end of March,” commission president Horst Hilpert said.
The commission is seeking to have Hoyzer banned for life and fined 50,000 euros.
In the meantime, the DFB's tribunal has ordered two matches be replayed. A further five games, all from the second division, are still under review.
On Thursday, the DFB upheld the result of the only first division match under suspicion. Referee Juergen Jansen said he felt the ruling had exonerated him.
Berlin prosecutors are also investigating a total of 25 people who are suspected of having manipulated at least 10 matches in 2004.
Police raids at the start of February resulted in the arrest of three brothers whom German media have identified as Croatian gamblers. – Reuters