The main trial with the former vice-chairman of the Football Association of the Czech Republic, Roman Berber, who, along with other people, faces indictment for corruption in influencing football matches, 16. April 2023 Pilsen. From the left, Tomáš Grímm, Roman Berbr, Michal Káník, Roman Rogoz.
Plzeň – With the interrogation of former Litoměřice football official Martin Pýcha, today the Pilsen District Court concluded the interrogation of all 22 defendants in the case of football corruption involving the former vice-chairman of the Football Association of the Czech Republic, Roman Berbro. It took ten business days from mid-April. Berbr, 20 other people and the club Slavoj Vyšehrad face charges of corruption in influencing football matches of the second and third leagues in 2019 and 2020.
Originally, the court wanted to hear the defendants during nine days of hearings in April and May. However, Pýcha and one of the main defendants, the former sports director of Slavoj Vyšehrad Roman Rogoz, apologized and testified only today. Both pleaded not guilty. According to the indictment, Rogoz paid bribes for better results for Vyšehrad. The prosecutor blames his pride on the fact that he arranged for the use of weaker Litoměřice players in the match with Vyšehrad for a bribe.
From Tuesday, the court will begin questioning witnesses and will take documentary evidence in its spare time, announced Judge Vladimír Žák today. By the end of the week, he called around ten witnesses, to the surprise of the court, on Friday, the chairman of the football association, Petr Fousek, excused himself from Tuesday's meeting due to work obligations. “I was surprised by Mr. Chairman's apology. Different rules apply in court than in football,” said the judge. After this week, the trial is scheduled to continue after the summer break until September.
The public prosecutor accuses Berber of being the head of a criminal organization involved in match-fixing. According to the plaintiff, Berbr used his dominant position in the FAČR and influenced the deployment of referees at the Vyšehrad matches according to Rogoz's requirements. According to the indictment, Berbr did this to strengthen and maintain his influence in the association. He faces up to twelve years in prison. Selected judges and delegates and other people then helped Vyšehrad to win for a bribe, says the indictment. Rogoz's motivation was the club's promotion to the second league.
Of the 22 defendants, only former referee Tomáš Grímm, who has the position of cooperating defendant, admitted guilt in influencing matches, as well as former player and former football official Michal Káník and former referee Marek Janoch. All the other defendants denied fixing the matches for payment. Another defendant, Petr Tarkovský, admitted that he participated in the money transfer without addressing the reason and details of the transaction. In addition, Berbr and other people confess to embezzlement for taking money from the Pilsen Regional Football Association through fictitious invoices. nor any group of referees who would do to order. There was no criminal organization, and certainly not among those who were in it according to the indictment,” Rogoz read today from a prepared statement. The existence of a criminal organization, which is the most serious point of the indictment, was not confirmed in court even by the defendants who pleaded guilty.
Some of the defendants spoke of Berbro as the once most powerful man in Czech football. “Roman Berbr's position in football was strong and permeated in all directions. I don't know a weakness he had in football,” said Rogoz, for example, today. he resolutely denied the guilt of the speech.