Early concern for England as semi-final referee has controversial past and history with Jude Bellingham

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England triumphed over Switzerland in a dramatic 5-3 penalty shootout to secure their place in the semi-finals of Euro 2024.

Despite their lacklustre performances throughout the tournament, the Three Lions have found themselves just one step away from the final.

Gareth Southgate has faced significant criticism for his tactics, player management, and inability to maximize the potential of England’s golden generation. However, his team has managed to persevere, setting up a semi-final clash against the Netherlands.

The highly anticipated match between England and the Netherlands is scheduled to kick off at 8 pm on Wednesday, July 10, at the Westfalenstadion, home of Borussia Dortmund.

Concerns over match referee

However, there might be some early concern for England regarding the match referee. Felix Zwayer, a referee with a controversial past, will oversee the game.

According to the Daily Mail, Zwayer has a history of match-fixing, having been banned for six months in 2005 for accepting a €300 (£253.82) bribe from fellow referee Robert Hoyzer.

Zwayer’s history with England star Jude Bellingham adds another layer of tension. In 2021, Bellingham, then at Borussia Dortmund, publicly criticised Zwayer after a controversial defeat to Bayern Munich, questioning his credibility on live TV.

Bellingham stated:

“You can look at a lot of the decisions in the game. You give a referee, that has match-fixed before, the biggest game in Germany. What do you expect?”

Following these comments, Bellingham was fined €40,000 (£33,843) and investigated by German police, while Zwayer took a two-month break from officiating.

All eyes on the officiating

With Zwayer set to referee the semi-final, any controversial decisions could spark significant backlash and questions about his appointment for such a critical match.

The focus will be on ensuring a fair and transparent game, as England seeks to overcome the Netherlands and advance to the Euro 2024 final.

 

 

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