Federation switches linesman before match

The German football federation has switched a linesman for a third-division game at short notice because his name is reportedly mentioned in the match-fixing investigation.

The 22-year-old linesman Thorben Siewer has been replaced by another linesman for Saturday’s third-division game between Osnabrueck and Wacker Burghausen, the federation said Friday.

The move is “purely precautionary,” according to the federation, which said it had information that Siewer’s name is mentioned in case files of Bochum prosecutors who are leading an investigation into match-fixing across Europe.

The prosecutors have not given any names of the people suspected of the manipulation of 200 matches on behalf of an international betting syndicate, including qualifying games for the Champions League.

“It’s a purely precautionary move by the federation aimed also at the protection of the referee himself,” the federation said in a statement.

The federation said it had “only its own investigation results” and had not yet seen the case files of the Bochum prosecutors.

In Germany, the authorities have arrested 15 people suspected of being involved in the scandal. Of the two people arrested in Switzerland, one has been released.

Prosecutors in Bochum, who specialize in organized crime probes, believe the gang bribed players, coaches referees and other officials to fix games on behalf of the bettors, who are believed to have made at least ?10 million ($15 million) in fraudulent bets.

While the investigation initially covered nine countries, the scandal has spread to other countries. Bochum prosecutors suspect about 200 people of being involved in the affair.

Media reports in Germany have previously said that a referee was under suspicion in Germany, where 32 games are believed to have been manipulated, from second division down.

German authorities originally listed nine countries where they believe the manipulations had occurred: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Switzerland and Turkey.

UEFA has also named clubs in Albania and Latvia and identified the five as KF Tirana, FC Dinaburg, KS Vllaznia, NK IB Ljubljana and Honved Budapest. Seven qualifying games in the Champions League and the Europa League between July 16 and Aug. 6 involving the five clubs were allegedly manipulated.