Kurt Röthlisberger - Swiss football referee
In April 1997, European football association UEFA banned top-referee Kurt Röthlisberger for life. He was found guilty of bribery.
The strange thing is that Röthlisberger himself wasn't bought. The allegations were as follows. Before the UEFA Champions League match between Grasshoppers Zürich (Switzerland) and French contenders AJ Auxerre, Röthlisberger told Grasshoppers manager Erich Vogel that he could bribe the referee, his friend Vadim Chuk from Belarus, for 90.000 Swiss francs (around 60.000 euro). Vogel reported this to UEFA, who banned Röthlisberger after an investigation.
At practically the same time Röthlisberger was also charged of acting as an intermediary in trying to influence the Spanish referee Manuel Diaz Vega to show favour to the Swiss national team in their World Cup qualifying match against Norway on November 10, 1996.
For a long time, Röthlisberger was considered one of the best football referees in the world. At the World Cup of 1994 in the United States, he was the most important candidate to lead the final until he made a terrible mistake during Germany-Belgium (3-2), totally overlooking a clear penalty decision for the Belgians after forward Josip Weber was fouled in the box. He also refereed Marco van Basten's last official match, the European Champions Cup final between Olympique Marseille and AC Milan in 1993.
He already got into trouble when he wanted to get elected for the Swiss parliament and got himself photographed in his refereeing outfit. This irritated UEFA and world football association FIFA, who were also severely criticized by the Swiss ref. Röthlisberger managed to create more enemies in high places with his standard reaction to questions about bribery:
"You cannot influence Röthlisberger with less than a million".