THE REFEREEING scandal that has rocked Germany since last year has finally ended with the jailing of the two principal figures involved. High-rolling Croat punter, Ante Sapina, and top class referee, Robert Hoyzer, met in a bar in Berlin, which the pair proceeded to drink dry. As beer after beer passed across the counter, a diabolical plan was hatched.
Sapina would place large amounts of money on matches that Hoyzer was to be in charge of, the partners in crime then splitting the proceedings. Over a series of five games bookmakers paid out almost three million euros before authorities became suspicious and started investigating. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a cup-tie between Bundesliga high-flyers Hamburg and third division minnow’s Paderborn. All seemed normal as the favourites took a comfortable 2-0 lead – but that was obviously not the result on the referee’s betting slip!
Hoyzer proceeded to turn the game on its head, first brandishing a red card at Hamburg’s Emile Mpenza and then signalling two non-existent penalties. The game ended 4-2 in favour of the crass outsiders, but the unlikely course of events was captured by television cameras: now the duo can reflect on what might have been behind bars – without a beer in sight!