Soccer Betting Scandal Looms Over England-Netherlands Match

A referee with ties to a soccer betting scandal in Germany will have the lead whistle at the European Championship semifinal between England and The Netherlands on Wednesday.

Felix Zwayer was an assistant referee in 2004 when he allegedly accepted money from fellow referee Robert Hoyzer. Investigators suspect Hoyzer gave Zwayer 300 euros — about $325 — to influence the outcome of the May 2004 match between Wuppertaler SV and Werder Bremen Amateure in Germany.

The case led to a lifetime ban for Hoyzer, and based on match-fixing evidence, Zwayer received a six-month ban in 2006.

For his part, Zwayer denies receiving plans to fix the match. He also denies receiving money from Hoyzer two decades ago.

Midfielder Remembers the Soccer Betting Scandal

A current English midfielder remembered the accusations and called out Zwayer after Dortmund’s 3-2 loss in 2021 Bundesliga league play. Dortmund was denied a penalty kick at one end of the pitch, while Bayern Munich earned a penalty kick during the match.

Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham told reporters to “look at a lot of the decisions in the game.”

“You give a referee, that has match-fixed before, the biggest game in Germany. What do you expect?”

Bellingham received a €40,000 ($43,280) fine for his comments.

Barring an officiating change, Bellingham and Zwayer will share the field when the England-Netherlands Euro semifinal begins at 3 p.m. ET Wednesday on FOX.

Bettors can review Euro 2024 odds a day earlier. Spain faces France on Tuesday — also at 3 p.m. ET on FOX — for a spot in the Euro final.

England Teammate Respects UEFA choice

Bellingham’s teammate — defender Luke Shaw — told the Associated Press he is “not at all” worried about the potential discomfort surrounding Bellingham’s comments or Zwayer’s assignment.

“We have to respect UEFA on whoever they decide to pick as the ref. That won’t change anything about us. We still just focus on the game in hand, not too much about what refs we’ve been given or this and that. So for us, it won’t make any difference,” Shaw said.

“Whatever ref has been picked, has been picked. We just have to be ready and not focus on that.”

UEFA, Europe’s governing body for soccer, accelerated efforts to safeguard the integrity of the sport in July 2021, including a website to anonymously turn in European match-fixers.

“Match-fixing is one of the biggest threats to the integrity of the beautiful game, and it is UEFA’s duty to remain at the vanguard in the fight,” UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said.

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About the Author
Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell

Lead Writer
Russ Mitchell joined Gaming Today as a lead writer in February 2023 after joining Catena Media in 2021 as a managing editor for the PlayIA and PlayVA brands. He covers sports betting industry news market developments, the college sports betting industry, and the four major North American pro sports leagues. With 25+ years of journalism experience to Gaming Today. He is a five-time winner of the Iowa’s prestigious Harrison “Skip” Weber Investigative Reporting award, a two-time National Newspaper Association award winner and a 50-time Iowa Newspaper Association award winner.

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