Euros 2024: England's semi-final referee Felix Zwayer served six-month match-fixing ban

Felix Zwayer

The German referee who officiated England's Euros 2024 semi-final against the Netherlands was given a six-month suspension for his involvement in a match-fixing scandal back in 2005.

Felix Zwayer - Figure 1
Photo Sky News

Felix Zwayer, who will be in charge of the all-German officiating team on Wednesday, has a previous connection with English player Jude Bellingham.

The soccer player was fined €40,000 (£33,970) by the German FA for his remarks about Zwayer after the match in 2021, as reported by Sky Sports News.

In December 2021, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder played in a Bundesliga match against Bayern Munich. The game ended in a 3-2 loss for Dortmund, with Zwayer officiating the match.

Learn more: Shaw on his physical condition for the semi-final and his thoughts on the upcoming opponents.

Following the match, Bellingham expressed to ViaPlay: "When you assign a referee who has a history of fixing matches to officiate the most important game in Germany, what outcome did you anticipate?"

In my opinion, it wasn't a penalty. Dortmund's Mats Hummels wasn't even facing the ball and was trying to control it when it accidentally hit him. There are several questionable calls throughout the game that could be reviewed.

The German Football Association determined that the statement made by the England player was considered to be "unsportsmanlike behavior".

Luke Shaw, the left-back for England, stated during a press conference on Monday that Bellingham's previous interactions with Zwayer will not impact the team during the match on Wednesday evening.

He continued by saying, "I believe it's important to trust UEFA in their selection of the referee. This won't affect our mindset, as we are still concentrating on the upcoming game."

Felix Zwayer - Figure 2
Photo Sky News

Zwayer, who is 43 years old, will be in charge of a German officiating team for the match between England and the Netherlands in Dortmund. This will be the second tournament game he has overseen with the Dutch team, as he also officiated their win over Romania in the last 16.

He was also in control during Italy's first game against Albania and Portugal's victory over Turkey in the second set of matches in the group stage.

In the bribery scandal, Zwayer confessed to accepting a payment from Robert Hoyzer, another referee who had been banned for his suspected role in fixing matches, several years prior to officiating Bundesliga games.

Explaining his choices in response to Bellingham's remarks, Zwayer - who later took a two-month hiatus from refereeing - stated to Sky Germany: "The incident was a routine corner kick.

As I watched the game, I noticed a key moment involving Hummels making contact with the ball. It made me wonder, was his arm extended away from his body or not? It was difficult to tell in the moment if his arm was deliberately moved towards the ball.

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He said: "I confirmed it with officials in Cologne and then they reviewed the position of the arm."

Bellingham has been present in all of England's five games in Germany, however, critics have claimed that the team has not met their expected performance level.

The soccer player scored two goals during regular play and also converted a penalty kick during Saturday's quarter-final match against Switzerland.

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He was awarded the title of player of the year in La Liga after assisting Real Madrid in winning both the title and the Champions League during his debut season in Spain.

Check it out: Jack Grealish and his partner are expecting their first baby. James Cordon postpones his performance to see England take penalties.

He was given permission to participate in the match against Switzerland on Saturday after facing allegations of possibly breaking the "fundamental standards of good behavior" following his goal in England's victory over Slovakia in the last-16 round.

Bellingham made a hand motion towards his pelvis area after scoring a last-minute overhead goal to keep England in the game.

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