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16th March 2018
The Dutch football association (KNVB) has offered its support to referee Serdar Gözübüyük, after he was named by a suspect being questioned in a German investigation into match-fixing. Dutch newspaper Volkskrant reported that it had received the file relating to the case against Dutch suspect known as ‘Paul R.’, who mentioned the referee during a January investigation regarding two 2009 Dutch Eerste Divisie (second tier) matches.
‘For the KNVB, the integrity of Gözübüyük not in question’, read an 18 April KNVB statement. ‘The KNVB regrets that a suspect in custody, whose reliability is unclear, can make these statements at such a stage. The risk is that Gözübüyük is publicly condemned without a factual foundation being in place. The KNVB emphasises that to this day, no police, court, public prosecutor or any other official body has been in contact with Gözübüyük in relation to manipulating matches.’
Paul R. is suspected by German prosecutors of involvement in large-scale match-fixing in 2008 and 2009 and is considered to be a central figure in an international match-fixing ring. The public lawsuit against Paul R. begins on Tuesday 21 April in Bochum, where the claims against Gözübüyük are to be heard.
“To be clear I’ll say it once more: I am clean”, said Gözübüyük in the KNVB’s statement. “It is precisely my role to ensure that the two teams play equally and in a sporting manner. The better that I can do that, the better it is for the game and the public. That is my challenge as a sportsman and my only motive to be a referee.”
“I am shocked that I am being named in connection with someone that I don’t know and that it is so easy for such a person to publicly cause such damage to someone’s reputation”, continued Gözübüyük. “This is someone that I also don’t want to know. That I have to justify my remarks for this person, feels unjust. The KNVB and UEFA are judging me on my sporting performances and they have confidence in me, so that’s the only thing I’m focusing on.”
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