England-Netherlands Euro 2024 ref, Felix Zwayer, was once banned for match-fixing

Felix Zwayer

An official with a checkered history has been chosen to oversee the England vs. Netherlands Euro 2024 semifinal match on Wednesday.

Felix Zwayer - Figure 1
Photo New York Post

Felix Zwayer has been selected as the referee for the upcoming international match that could determine the winner of the tournament. This decision comes despite Zwayer being banned almost two decades ago for accepting a bribe from another official, Robert Hoyzer.

The soccer referee was suspended for half a year in 2005 because he accepted a $325 payment to favor Wuppertal SV in a 2004 match against Werder Bremen Amateure.

Zwayer's suspension was not made public until last year when a German newspaper, the Daily Mail, reported on it.

Although some people may be surprised by the decision, Zwayer will be officiating his second match in this year's tournament. He previously served as the referee for the Netherlands' 3-0 victory over Romania in the Round of 16.

Felix Zwayer - Figure 2
Photo New York Post

However, doubts about England's confidence in the decision to let Zwayer referee go beyond just the bribery scandal. This unease also arises from statements made by English footballer Jude Bellingham in 2021.

In Bellingham's opinion, Zwayer's honesty was brought into doubt after a Bundesliga game in which Borussia Dortmund lost to Bayern Munich.

Bellingham pointed out that many of the game's calls can be scrutinized. According to ESPN, he questioned the logic of appointing a referee with a history of match-fixing to officiate the most important game in Germany.

The statement ended up costing Bellingham a total of €40,000.

However, England defender Luke Shaw did not show any signs of worry during his speech at a press event on Monday.

"Definitely not," Shaw informed the media. "We must show respect to UEFA for whichever referee they choose. It won't affect us in any way."

"We're concentrating on the current game, not worrying about which referees we have or external factors. It won't affect us."

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