News 8 July 2024

Referee for England vs Netherlands semi-final served match-fixing ban

8 July 2024

Felix Zwayer, the referee appointed for England’s European Championship semi-final against Holland, has a controversial past.

Zwayer, a German official, faced a six-month ban for accepting a €300 bribe in a 2005 match-fixing scandal involving fellow referee Robert Hoyzer. UEFA is now under scrutiny for allowing Zwayer to officiate in a major international tournament.

Zwayer’s reputation was further tarnished in December 2021 when Jude Bellingham, following Borussia Dortmund’s 3-2 loss to Bayern Munich, accused him of corruption. Bellingham criticiSed Zwayer for a contentious penalty decision and highlighted his past involvement in match-fixing. This led to a police investigation and a €40,000 fine for Bellingham by German football authorities. Zwayer took a two-month break from officiating after the incident.

Dortmund players were particularly incensed by Zwayer’s decision to award a penalty for Mats Hummels’ alleged handball when the game was tied 2-2. Bellingham openly questioned UEFA’s decision to appoint Zwayer, given his match-fixing history, calling it predictable given his past.

Zwayer’s role in the 2005 scandal came to light through a German newspaper investigation in 2014, revealing his cooperation with the prosecution, which mitigated his punishment to a six-month ban. Despite his cooperation, the German football association (DFB) concluded that Zwayer had accepted a bribe.

Zwayer has previously officiated at the Euros, overseeing matches such as Italy vs. Albania and Turkey vs. Portugal. He also served as an assistant VAR for England’s 2018 World Cup matches against Sweden and Croatia.

[Image via Shutterstock]