Nominees revealed for Fans' Footballer of the Year
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England international midfielder Jude Bellingham has narrow avoided a ban despite receiving a €40,000 fine for his post-match comments regarding referee Felix Zwayer after Borussia Dortmund’s controversial 3-2 defeat to Bayern Munich. The interview with Viaplay, in which Bellingham questioned the official’s integrity following his previous involvement in a match-fixing scandal, was investigated by German police.
He said: “You give a referee, that has match fixed before, the biggest game in Germany, what do you expect?
“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.”
Zwayer waved away Dortmund appears for a spot-kick before awarding Bayern a penalty at the other end after a handball from Mats Hummels.
The decision and result could have huge bearing on the Bundesliga title race as Bayern moved four points clear of Marco Rose’s side following their crunch win at Signal Iduna Park.
Bellingham will now have to pay a substantial €40,000 penalty for his scathing rant, in which he referenced Zwayer’s six-month ban by the German FA back in 2005 in the wake of a match-fixing scandal.
The German Football Association (DFB) invited Bellingham to clear up his comments after opening an investigation.
A criminal complaint was then lodged against the former Birmingham City teenager.
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The case was then passed on to Dortmund’s public prosecutor’s office, who would be given the chance to assess whether they believe Bellingham’s comments were worth of punishment.
Referee Zwayer spoke out on his decision to award the Bayern penalty after the game in a bid to provide some clarity of his performance.
“The situation was a standard corner kick,” he said.
“I see in the game that it’s about a touch by Hummels. The question for me was: Is the arm stretched away from the body or not? In real time, it was not clear whether his arm was moved towards the ball.
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“It was a contact in the upper body area, which is allowed to happen even at high speed,” Zwayer added.
“The situation is not black and white, I decided against the penalty because of my line of sight.”
Yet it wasn’t only Zwayer’s decision to award Bayern a penalty that incensed Dortmund and Bellingham.
Marco Reus was adamant he should have had a penalty after he was brought down by Bayern defender Lucas Hernandez in the box.
The incident was not reviewed by VAR, something that left the home side furious, particularly after the Bayern penalty was awarded.
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