BERLIN (dpa) – After the referee’s wrong decisions at the weekend in the Bundesliga, criticism is mounting – also from the German Football Association.
Former top referee Manuel Gref blames years of poor development in the German Football Association on the errors and calls for a “restart”. National record player Lothar Matthaus suggests that former professional footballers back the video assistant after “decisions that are no longer easy to accept”. The German federation itself admitted mistakes made by referees in two matches.
Gräfe: ‘It’s time to ask the question of responsibility’
The role of the video assistant in the German League, Saturday, sparked criticism again. In the big match between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund (3-1), the VAR did not intervene after Benjamin Pavard of PVB team Judd Bellingham missed a penalty kick. In a 2-1 win on 1. FC Union over RB Leipzig, the VAR reported a kick from Leipzig’s Nordi Mukele against Nico Geselmann of Berlin, but the referee did not review his decision. The director of the Video Evidence Project, Jochen Drez, explained in an announcement to the German Football Association on Monday that the wrong decisions were made in both cases.
Meanwhile, German Football Association chief Lutz Michael Frolich has made referees responsible before the end of the season. “We will be working more intensively with the referees in the last three matches in preparation to prepare and point out potential sources of error, but above all to give them peace and security in their duties in the game,” Frolich said.
“The time has come, after the DFB has led its refereeing both structurally and personally against the wall for twelve years, to raise the question of responsibility,” Gref wrote in a guest commentary in Bild newspaper, adding: “If he is in a club or does so.” He does not work in a company for years, at some point the level of management will be rightly responsible ».
The governors have been organized into a limited liability company since January 1st. Chief Referee Lutz Michael Frolich is in charge of the “Sports and Communications” area, while Head of Department Florian Gutt is in charge of “Administration and Management”. The German Football Association is the largest shareholder with 51 percent, and the German Football League is one of the contributors.
Gräfe: “The principle of performance is secondary”
Gref said that there were a lot of wrong decisions, some of which were clearly wrong, and emphasized: “Here we are again with the principle of performance, which unfortunately has been behind the management of the German referees for a long time. Previously with presidents Fandel and Krug, and today with Fröhlich and Meyer and Drees”. DFB – and now also the DFL – is in demand, because this problem cannot be so bad for the Bundesliga. “It is clear that wrong decisions do not have necessary consequences, as one prefers to choose judgment for positions or tasks according to personal, regional or political aspects.”
The German Football Association representative Fröhlich has no understanding of Graefe’s massive criticism. “We are less constructive in assessing the way a previous referee uses the current discussion to publicly express his or her personal opinion,” he said.
Gräfe, who had to end his career in the summer of 2021 due to the age limit and therefore was in a clinch with the German Football Association, calls for a “restart without these political influences”. The 48-year-old Berliner suggests committing to former Swiss referee Urs Mayer, who can act “independently and performance-oriented”.
Mayer reacted with interest to the proposal. “I wouldn’t rule it out! This would be a job I would enjoy,” he told Bild newspaper. “German football is very close to me.”
Matthew brings ex-footballers into the conversation
However, Matthews can imagine the former professional football players being used as support. The proposal is not new. “As ex-footballers, we can assess it better because we have been through these situations for years and we know what it is like when you make mistakes. How you fall, where the ball goes, if this or that happens in front of it. Above all, we see it faster,” wrote Mateus in the sky pillar. The intuition of former football players in such cases is different.
Fröhlich was open to the idea. “We are pleased to accept constructive suggestions from football experts such as Lothar Matthaus and we also seek extensive mutual exchange with other football experts, current and former players and club officials,” he said. This is an important addition to the current regular exchange with clubs, which the Football Association has recently intensified significantly.
However, Matthews is again opposed to overturning the video ruling. That would be a “step back,” said the 1990 world champion: “I think the bottom line is that more wrong decisions have been prevented than before, and there’s still room for improvement.”
Ex-colleague Merk contradicts criticism
Three-times world referee Marcus Merck does not understand the sharp criticism leveled by his former teammate Manuel Gref at the German Football Association. In an interview with “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger”, Merk accused Gräfe of other motives for his statements. “He has based his approach on a personal level for years. Merck said he is taking every opportunity to raise the bar for the facts. “No one should claim that if they were taken into account more, the world of football would be better. That is basically their logic.”
Meanwhile, the 60-year-old is calling for a clearer focus on key referees on the field with a view to discussions about video assistants in the Bundesliga. “The agent can’t just be on behalf of the video assistant,” Merck said. “You have to train the referees so they can do their primary job better again: taking the main responsibility on the field.”