Thu, Feb 17, 2005 - Page 19 News List

Scandal disrupts preparations for World Cup


Germany's match-fixing scandal is disrupting preparations for next year's World Cup, Franz Beckenbauer, president of the organizing committee, said Tuesday.

"The work remains undone while we do nothing but put out fire after fire," Beckenbauer told reporters at a news conference at the Berlin film festival. "I hope that it [the scandal] will be resolved as soon as possible and we can return to business as usual."

Beckenbauer said the atmosphere in the organizing committee was bad and that the scandal was damaging the reputation of German soccer.

The German great was in Berlin for the presentation of awards in a short film competition with the 2006 World Cup as a theme.

Many officials of the German Soccer Federation (DFB) also hold senior posts on the World Cup organizing committee.

The DFB has been busy dealing with the fallout from the match-fixing scandal that became public nearly a month ago.

One referee, Robert Hoyzer, has admitted fixing or trying to fix seven games and has been in custody on suspicion of fraud since Saturday.

Hoyzer admitted receiving money from Croatian gamblers to fix games, allowing them to make huge winnings by betting on matches.

Three Croatian brothers from Berlin are also under arrest.

Berlin prosecutors investigating the case say 25 people, including four referees and 14 players are suspected of manipulating at least 10 games, mostly in lower divisions.

The DFB on Tuesday ruled that a second-division match rigged by Hoyzer will be replayed. Hoyzer admitted receiving 30,000 euros (US$36,000) to fix the Oct. 22 second-division match between LR Ahlen and Wacker Burghausen that ended in a 1-0 victory for Ahlen. Hoyzer awarded a penalty to Ahlen and sent off a Burghausen player.

It was the second DFB ruling on a match fixed by Hoyzer. Last week, the DFB pledged Hamburger SV 2 million euros in compensation for the German Cup first-round 4-2 loss to third-division Paderborn. The cup match could not be replayed because the competition is at an advanced stage.

Another 12 games are under appeal, including one first-division game.

In another development, a source who demanded anonymity told AP that Hoyzer received 1,000 euros to manipulate a friendly game between Bundesliga club Hansa Rostock and Middlesbrough of the English Premier league.

The July 31 match ended in a 3-1 victory for Hansa Rostock and Hoyzer didn't manipulate the game, the source said.

For the first time, Beckenbauer also criticized the structure of the DFB hierarchy, saying the two-man leadership wasn't working.

Since October, the DFB has been run by two co-chairmen -- Theo Zwanziger and Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder -- in a system supposed to stay in place through the 2006 World Cup.

Mayer-Vorfelder, a member of the executive of FIFA, soccer's world governing body, lost some of his power when rank-and-file members rebelled last year against his autocratic style of leadership.

Zwanziger has taken a leading public role for the DFB in dealing with the match-fixing scandal, while Mayer-Vorfelder appears to have been shifted to the side.

He was left out of a task force assembled by the DFB over the weekend to handle the affair.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper said Tuesday that support for Mayer-Vorfelder was quickly eroding in the DFB, which has more than 6 million members, and he could be forced out of the office soon.

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