Gareth Southgate reacts to controversial referee appointed for England’s Euro 2024 semi-final with Netherlands

Felix Zwayer had been given a six-month suspension after being discovered to have accepted a bribe in 2025

By Web Desk
July 09, 2024
Gareth Southgate (L) and Felix Zwayer (R). - AFP

Gareth Southgate has stated that he is 'not concerned' about UEFA choosing Felix Zwayer as the referee for England's Euro 2024 semi-final against the Netherlands, despite the official's controversial history of match-fixing.

In the lead-up to Wednesday’s crucial match, it was revealed that Zwayer had been given a six-month suspension after being discovered to have accepted a £250 bribe from fellow referee Robert Hoyzer in 2005.

German publication Zeit revealed the story years later and found that Zwayer had neglected to report the incident at the time. However, Zwayer later cooperated with the investigation and was determined not to have committed any intentional mistakes during the match in question.

There were suggestions that Zwayer should be removed from the Three Lions' semi-final, and it is understood that UEFA conducted a review to assess whether the 43-year-old should officiate the contest in Dortmund.

Jude Bellingham was fined €40,000 for highlighting Zwayer's troubling history after his Borussia Dortmund team lost to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga in December 2021.

Southgate intends to treat the referee and his team with the same ‘respect’ that he has shown all officials across his eight-year reign.

"No. I think everybody knows how I deal with referees: with complete respect for every referee.

"I know the two guys at UEFA, Roberto [Rosetti] and Bjorn [Kuipers], who have been running the referees programme, and I think they appreciate the respect we have shown as a team to officials over eight years," Southgate added.

"I think there is a right way to conduct yourself towards officials and very important for the image of the game.

"So, no, I’m not concerned about who the referee is. He will be at a very high standard because that’s the way that UEFA make those decisions and the way they monitor the games that are played during the tournament. For me, it’s not even a consideration," he concluded.

Remember, the Three Lions have never reached a final outside of England or won the European Championship before.

Southgate's men have been heavily criticised for their performances at Euro 2024, where they have won only one of their five games in 90 minutes.

But he said his players showed signs of what they are capable of in a quarter-final win over Switzerland on penalties after needing a late Bukayo Saka equaliser to send the game to extra time.