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Football Match-Fixing 'Mastermind' Accuses Referee of Idea to Rig Games

The man accused of masterminding German football's (soccer's) match-fixing scandal has testified in court that it was a referee who came up with the suggestion to rig games.

Ante Sapina said Thursday after a night of drinking in a Berlin cafe he was asked by referee Robert Hoyzer, "What would it be worth to you if Paderborn won this weekend?" Sapina testified he accepted the offer and gave Hoyzer nearly $10,000 to fix the third-division game between Paderborn and Chemnitz.

Hoyzer admitted in January that he accepted bribes from Sapina and his two Croatian brothers to fix games. It produced the biggest corruption scandal in German football in more than 30 years.

Besides Hoyzer, fellow-referee Dominik Marks and former player Steffen Karl are also charged with fraud in fixing or seeking to rig 23 games, mostly in lower German divisions. In one case in April of 2004, Sapina said he paid Karl $12,000 to intentionally play under his ability. Karl's team, Chemnitz, lost to Dynamo Dresden, 1-0.

The trial is expected to last at least one month and the defendants could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.