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What did Jude Bellingham say about Felix Zwayer, the referee banned for match fixing?

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England’s European Championships semi-final against the Netherlands will be overseen by German referee Felix Zwayer. The 43-year-old official has a controversial past and was heavily criticised by Jude Bellingham during the England midfielder’s time with Borussia Dortmund.

In 2005 Zwayer was hit with a six-month ban after been found to have been involved with a match-fixing Scandal in Germany. At the time Zwayer admitted to taking money from fellow referee Robert Hoyzer, four years before his first appointment to the Bundesliga. Hoyzer was at the centre of a €2 million match fixing Scandal in the second tier of German soccer.

Felix Zwayer has already refereed the Netherlands at this summer's tournament.
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Felix Zwayer has already refereed the Netherlands at this summer's tournament.FABRICE COFFRINIAFP

However after serving his ban in 2005 Zwayer has been allowed to return to the professional game and was added to the International FIFA List in 2012. Last year he officiated the UEFA Nations League Final between Croatia and Spain.

Jude Bellingham’s controversial comments about Feliz Zwayer

Zwayer’s ban was initially kept secret by the German FA, before being published by Die Zeit in 2014. By this point Zwayer had returned to the professional game and was one of Germany’s most trusted officials but his past not ingratiated himself to players.

In 2021 Jude Bellingham, then playing for Borussia Dortmund, raged about Zwayer after seeing him turn down appeals for a penalty and subsequently award Bayern Munich a spot kick in a 3-2 loss for Dortmund.

You give a referee that has match-fixed before the biggest Game in Germany - what do you expect?” Bellingham fumed. “For me, it wasn’t [a penalty]. He [Hummels] is not even looking at the ball and he’s fighting to get it and it hits him. You can look at a lot of the decisions in the Game.”

An 18-year-old Jude Bellingham was found guilty of “unsportsmanlike conduct” by a German sports court and hit with a €40,000 fine for his postgame comments.

The Englishman has scored two crucial goals for England at Euro 2024 but has looked tired at times in a lumbering England team. And yet despite those struggles his side stand 90 minutes away from a second consecutive European Championship final.

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