England vs Netherlands ref was banned for match-fixing and clashed with Jude Bellingham | Football | Sport

England’s referee for their Euro 2024 semi-final against the Netherlands was once banned for match-fixing and prompted a strong response from Jude Bellingham after a Bundesliga match in 2021. Felix Zwayer served a six-month suspension in 2005 after taking a £250 bribe from fellow referee Robert Hoyzer.

Express Sport has previously been told that UEFA and the German football authorities consider Zwayer to be fully rehabilitated. Hoyzer, meanwhile, was banned from football for life and was handed a prison sentence for two years and five months after being found guilty of fraud.

But debate over the scandal resurfaced 16 years later when England star Bellingham fumed about a decision made by Zwayer during a Bundesliga clash. The midfielder, who was playing for Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich, wanted a penalty for a possible handball by Mats Hummels.

“It hits him and I don’t even think he’s looking at the ball but you know you can look at a lot of the decisions in the game,” Bellingham said afterwards.

“You give a referee that has match-fixed before the biggest game in Germany – what do you expect?”

Bellingham was fined £34,000 for his comments but is set to reunite with Zwayer again when England meet the Netherlands. The German official has been appointed to the Euro 2024 semi-final by UEFA, with the game incidentally being played in Dortmund.

Norwegian TV journalist Jan Aage Fjortoft, who conducted the interview with Bellingham three years ago, has questioned UEFA’s appointment of the 43-year-old.

Alongside a video of the interview, Fjortoft said: “I am not sure what UEFA are thinking by putting Zwayer at the England-game. Back in 2021 Bellingham told me this after the game. And was fined €40,000 by German football officials.”

Zwayer is considered one of UEFA’s top officials and has taken charge of three matches at the tournament so far. One of those was the Netherlands’ 3-0 victory over Romania in the last-16.

UEFA have been contacted for comment.

England may have more pressing concerns about Zwayer’s liberal approach to showing yellow cards. He has booked 13 players in his three matches at the tournament.

In the Bundesliga last season, Zwayer showed 74 yellows and one red in 18 matches. He also refereed in the Champions League and the Bundesliga 2 in 2023-24, 147 yellow cards and four reds in 32 total games.

Zwayer, who also took charge of the Netherlands’ win over France in Euro 2024 qualifying, refereed European matches involving Celtic and Brighton last season.

England have been shown eight yellow cards at the tournament so far, but bookings reset after the quarter-final and nobody will be vanned for the final if England qualify, unless they are sent off. Defender Marc Guehi will return against the Netherlands after serving a one-match suspension. 

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