Berlin: German coaches and officials on Saturday demanded stiff sentences for members of a ring suspected of having fixed or tried to rig at least 200 matches across Europe, including three in the Champions League.
German police said on Friday they had dismantled a gang with more than 200 suspected members operating in nine European leagues.
“We will punish these people. They do not belong to us any more,” German soccer federation chief Theo Zwanziger said, adding prison sentences could await the main culprits just like those convicted in a 2005 match-fixing affair involving referee Robert Hoyzer.
“The message here is not that it happened but how we deal with it. Where there is money there is corruption. (Prison sentences) could be the case here as well.”
Police in Germany, Britain, Austria and Switzerland staged simultaneous raids on Thursday, arresting 15 people in Germany and two in Switzerland.
The gang is suspected of having paid off referees, players and officials to win at least 10 million euros after betting on those matches, with officials speculating this to be the “tip of the iceberg.”
German media said a German referee may have been involved in fixing matches in the lower leagues. Zwanziger did not confirm or deny the reports.
“I cannot evaluate the information on the referee. But if it turns out to be true then these people will have nothing to do with us. We will punish them,” he said.
Coaches Ralf Rangnick, of Bundesliga club Hoffenheim, and Schalke O4’s Felix Magath said there was a need for drastic action and tough sentences.
“We should not be surprised too much by this. Sport is a reflection of society and when money is at stake such things exist. Only drastic measures can help here,” Rangnick told reporters.
“We must wait and see what will come out of in the investigation but if there was indeed manipulation then there must naturally be tough sanctions,” added Magath.