EHF announces penalties for Chekov Medvedi and German Referees (Lemme-Ullrich)

The EHF released an official statement imposing penalites on Russian Handball Club, Chekov Medvedi and top German referee pair Frank Lemme and Bernd Ullrich. Chekov was fined 25,000 Euros and "with the threat of 2 years exclusion from all international handball competition suspended for a period of four years." Lemme and Ullrich will not be allowed to officiate EHF matches for 5 years. (Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect the EHF's clarification of their official statement. Chekov is not immediately excluded from competition, but under threat for the next four years.)

The match in question is the 2nd leg of the 2005-06 EHF Cupwinners’ Cup Final. In the first leg in Spain on April 24, 2006, Valladolid beat Chekov, 36-29 for a 7 goal aggregate lead. At the return leg in Russia, Lemme and Ulrich were approached by an unidentified person with an offer of money during warm-ups prior to the start of the match on April 29, 2006. Chekov won the 2nd leg match by 8 goals, 32-24, thus winning the Cupwinnners’ Cup Championship by an aggregate score of 61-60. At the airport returning home Customs officials discovered $50,000 cash in one of their suitcases. Lemme and Ulrich deny ever having seen the bag before it was checked, but they fully acknowledge that they were spoken to before the match by an individual they refuse to identify because as Ullrich told Handball-World, “we also have quite a respect for the possible consequences." Lemme in the same interview further explained by adding, "Yes, murderous respect even if you know what I mean. You never know what yet everything happens."

Lemme/Ullrich have been Germany’s top officiating pair for several years and officiated the Gold Medal Game in Beijing. At ages 46 and 47 the 5 year sentence could mean the end of their officiating career. According to Handball-World they will likely appeal the sentence and they have support from at least some officials in German Federation and HBL.

Waiting in the wings is the highest profile case involving Kiel’s alleged manipulation of the Champions League final vs. Flensburg from 2007.

EHF Official Statement: EHF Arbitration Tribunal takes final decision in prominent case:
2005-06 Cupwinners’ Cup Results:
Handball-World: "Five years is a heavy punishment" – Lemme / Ullrich consider appeal:
Handball-World: Lemme / Ullrich blocked for five years: