BOCHUM: The famous – or infamous – Bochum matchfixing trial has gone to a replay after lawyers for fixer Ante Sapina successfully challenged the original hearing and verdict in the German appeal courts.
The original trial, staged after hitherto unprecedented police co-operation across Europe, reached a conclusion in May 202 with five-and-a-half-year jail sentences for Sapina and accomplice Marijo Cvrtak on grounds of organised fraud.
Sapina and Cvrtak were among six men charged with manipulating matches across Europe and the two confessed to fixing more than 20 games. They earned more than €2.3m each by betting on manipulated games, mostly through Asian betting operations.
Sapina had a previous conviction for involvement in a similar betting scandal in 2005 involving Bundesliga referee Robert Hoyzer.
The first day of the new hearing back before the District Court of Bochum saw presiding judge Carsten Schwadrat accepting a ruling from the Supreme Court in Karlsruhe that elements of the initial case were unsafe.
A two-week adjournment has been granted for further consultation between prosecution and defence over whether Sapina, after his wide-ranging admissions, should be granted greater leniency in re-sentencing.
This could lead to two other defendants receiving heaver sentences if a further five games, which were targeted by the fixers, are considered material elements in the case.
These matches comprise a UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifier between Switzerland and Georgia on November 18, 2009 (it ended 1-0) and an Austrian league game on October 28, 2009, in which SV Kapfenberg beat FK Austria 1-0.
A charge of conspiracy concerning these matches must be reviewed.
Judge Schwadrat said that the concerns of the Supreme Court would be addressed thoroughly, however long that took.