2009 European football betting scandal

The biggest match-fixing scandal ever to hit Europe.


Where: Domestic leagues in nine European countries: Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Austria.

UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Champions League.

When: 2009

Duration: Around two-hundred fixtures in domestic leaguestwelve qualifying matches in the UEFA Europa League, and three in the UEFA Champions League

Organizers: Betting mafia, including Croatian gambling syndicate (Šapina brothers)

Perpetrators: Numerous referees, players, coaches and officials

Legal Repercussions: 

The UEFA European Football Association suspended the Ukrainian referee Oleg Orijechow, in connection with the betting scandal, and who had supposedly been in personal contact with a member of the betting mafia, according to Spiegel Online. UEFA revealed in March 2009 that they were bringing charges against an unnamed European club, later revealed to be Macedonian side FK Pobeda. As a consequence, the club was handed an eight-year ban from all European competitions, and club president Aleksandar Zabrčanec and former captain Nikolce Zdravevski were given lifetime European football bans.

The fraud was discovered through telephone tapping of organized crime activities and has been investigated by the Prosecutorial Office at Bochum, Germany. On 19 November 2009 a series of raids were conducted in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Austria in relation to the betting investigation. They resulted in fifteen arrests in Germany, and a further two in Switzerland, as well as the seizure of cash and property.

On 14 April 2011, the 13th Criminal Court of the Bochum District, sentenced better Tuna A. and the betting office operator Stevan R., to three years and eight months and three years and eleven months, on the account of fraud.

Betting office operator Nürretin G. was given a three-year prison sentence on the account of fraud. Tuna A. and Nurretin G. had already spent 13 months of their sentence while being held during examination. In the course of the trial, all three defendants had admitted to the manipulation of 32 games and of having bribed players.

In May 2011, Ante Šapina was sentenced to five and a half years’ imprisonment by the District Court of Bochum. Marijo Cvrtak was also sentenced to five and a half years’ imprisonment and Dragan M. received a probation sentence of one year and six months.

In December 2012, the Federal Court of Justice declared the previous rulings against Šapina and an accomplices for non-appealable and dismissed them.

In March 2013, Milan Šapina was sentenced to ten months’ imprisonment by the district court of Bochum, the sentence was largely waived in March 2014, leaving only a four-month imprisonment time.

In April 2014, Ante Šapina was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by the District Court of Bochum.


Commenting on the case, UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino said: “Firstly, I would like to thank the German authorities for their action and for the good collaboration. This case proves that it is possible for a state investigative authority to work closely together with a sports governing body when it comes to corruption or match-fixing, and it is gratifying to see that the Betting Fraud Detection System endorsed by the UEFA President, Michel Platini, is already bearing fruit. We will continue our battle against any form of corruption in European football with a mission of zero tolerance.

“UEFA will be demanding the harshest of sanctions before the competent courts for any individuals, clubs or officials who are implicated in this malpractice, be it under state or sports jurisdiction.”

UEFA president Michel Platini revealed that his organisation were stepping up their efforts to eradicate match fixing in the game, and that 27,000 fixtures would be monitored in the 2009–10 season.

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