Top Dutch football referee denies match fixing

The Dutch suspect in a major German football match-fixing case named top Netherlands referee Serdar Gözübüyük as having involvement in the cheating scandal, according to the Volkskrant. A court in Bochum, Germany will hear accusations against Paul R. on Tuesday.

He will testify about his role and his accomplices in a bid to secure a reduced sentence, the newspaper says. R. will say accomplice Daniel ’t H. was connected to Gözübüyük through a Turkish professional gambler. R. believes Gözübüyük was bribed to fix two or three matches in the First Division, the second-highest league in the Netherlands.

Gözübüyük, 29, said he never met R., and had no involvement in the alleged crime ring. “I’m shocked that my name is being mentioned in this contect by someone I do not know, and that it is so easy for such a person to inflict damage to someone’s public image,” Gözübüyük told the newspaper. He added that it is unfair to drag him through the mud for someone like R. “This is someone I do not want to know,” he stated.

Both the Dutch and European football associations “judge me on my athletic performance, and they have confidence in me, so that’s the only think I am focusing on,” Gözübüyük said.

Investigators think Gözübüyük did have contact with R., possibly in the clubhouse of VV Young Boys. Thirteen people were arrested there in connection with illegal poker tournaments in October 2011. Gözübüyük would not tell the newspaper if he ever visited the clubhouse, or took part in poker games there.

Gözübüyük was investigated in 2011 by Dutch football association KNVB for playing late-night poker matches with players from the top league, Eredivisie, but no accusations were levied. His part-time job with the main sponsor of FC Utrecht led to a reprimand in 2012.

“For the KNVB there is no question of referee Serdar Gözübüyük’s integrity,” the association said, also affirming UEFA’s confidence in him. “From that [KNVB] places confidence in him.”