German gamblers had list of refs - Saturday 12th of March 2005

The referee at the center of German soccer's match-fixing scandal says a gambling ring knew in advance which referees would officiate at Champions League and international matches.

Robert Hoyzer, who has admitted taking bribes to rig games, told investigators he saw the list of referees in a car belonging to a Berlin cafe owned by three Croatian brothers alleged to have run the scam, Der Spiegel magazine reported Thursday.

The brothers had lists of referees and UEFA delegates about a week before Champions League, UEFA Cup and national team games, Der Spiegel said.

UEFA, European soccer's ruling body, does not publish the names of referees and their assistants until 48 hours before games.

The Berlin prosecutors' office declined to comment.

The brothers reportedly told Hoyzer they obtained the lists through "good sources."

Der Spiegel said only UEFA's referee manager, Yvan Cornu, and the 11 members of the UEFA's referee commission were supposed to know the names in advance.

The Croatian brothers have been in custody since January, when Hoyzer admitted receiving euro67,000 (US$87,100) to fix games.

Berlin prosecutors are investigating 25 people, including four referees and 14 players, on suspicion of rigging at least 10 games, mostly in lower divisions.

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