Criminal complaint filed against Jude Bellingham for raising match-fixing past of referee

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Jude Bellingham of Borussia Dortmund looks on during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Munchen at Signal Iduna Park on December 4, 2021 in Dortmund, Germany. - GETTY IMAGES
Jude Bellingham of Borussia Dortmund looks on during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Munchen at Signal Iduna Park on December 4, 2021 in Dortmund, Germany. - GETTY IMAGES

A criminal complaint has been filed against Jude Bellingham to German police for raising the match-fixing past of a referee who awarded a decisive late penalty to Bayern Munich in their Bundlesliga win at Borussia Dortmund.

England midfielder Bellingham could face “slander” charges if prosecutors decide to pursue him over an angry rant about Felix Zwayer following Bayern’s 3-2 victory in a top-of-the-table clash at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.

Bellingham, who is certain to be punished by the German Football Federation (DFB), was furious Zwayer had turned down Dortmund appeals for a penalty before awarding one to Bayern for a Matts Hummels handball.

He told ViaPlay: “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.”

The DFB confirmed that a criminal complaint has been made to German police, and the case will be forwarded on to the Dortmund public prosecutor's office, who are expected to rule on a decision over any potential charges to be brought against Bellingham later this week.

Bellingham was referring to a six-month ban served by Zwayer in 2005 following a match-fixing scandal.

His outburst saw a criminal complaint filed by Marco Haase, a voluntary referee observer for the DFB, and it was unclear on Monday whether it would be taken further amid suggestions doing so would require the cooperation of Zwayer himself.

The DFB has already opened its own investigation into Bellingham’s rant, which is certain to see him fined or banned.

Defending his decisions during Saturday’s game, Zwayer told Sky Germany he had checked his decision to award Bayern a penalty with the Video Assistant Referee.

“The video assistant made an assessment for himself and said that Hummels had his arm away from the body in an unnatural position,” he added.

“In the end, he clearly deflected the ball with his elbow and I came to the decision that it was a penalty.”

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