Football professionals as referees: ‘It was stunning’

BWhen the DFB “Year of Judges” campaign got off to a good start, only Anton Stach’s uniform drew light criticism. Wearing pink football boots, Bundesliga club FSV Mainz 05 made his debut as a referee on Saturday before admitting with a smile: “Before the game, I was told it wouldn’t work at all. I had to apologize.”

Apart from Stach’s poor shoe choice, there was only praise for Mainz midfielder and Freiburg striker Nils Petersen, each playing an unfamiliar half-time refereeing role in VfR Nierstein’s Rheinhessen District League game against TSV Mommenheim (6-0).

“What the guys did was flawless. Both did great. My congratulations and respect for the seriousness and appreciation with which you did this,” said Chief Justice of Germany Deniz Aytekin as an observer and adviser on the sidelines.

Start of the DFB initiative

A special action in front of 1100 spectators marked the beginning of the DFB’s initiative to promote refereeing in Germany. “Insanely cool that they both took the time to help focus on the topic. We definitely need more referees,” Aytekin stressed. “Anything that raises awareness of appreciation and respect is helpful.”

By the end of the year, the association intends to publish a theme with various smaller and larger measures and implement improvements. “We want to draw attention to the fact that we have lost a lot of referees and that there are already many games that have to be played completely without referees,” explained Ronnie Zimmermann, DFB vice president of amateur football.

All clubs, associations and districts will have to work together on this issue. “We need judges and we need to treat them accordingly. The way we would like to be treated. It’s not easy on the field at all. This is a difficult task that deserves respect and understanding,” Zimmermann emphasized.

Stach and Petersen internalized this through a change of perspective. “Judges have a difficult job and a huge responsibility. It’s not always easy to see everything. And then there are always players who see and discuss things differently. I’m a part of it too,” Stakh acknowledged, adding, “It’s important that you respect each other, even if you don’t agree.”

Therefore, Petersen wants to promote a greater understanding of judges. “As a decision maker on the pitch, you have a lot of responsibility. Respect to the judges. Now I will approach this differently,” said the 34-year-old, announcing: “I will tell everyone I deal with that this is a difficult task. We need a good exchange.”

The pros’ whistle premiere did not go so smoothly, although they managed the unusual test with ease and did without a yellow card. “I didn’t know where to run and just tried to dodge the ball. I don’t know these walking routes,” Stakh said, explaining his limited range on the pitch. “To summarize, I would say that it was stunning.”

Petersen has always been at his best, but admitted, “Looking back, sometimes you think you could have made a different decision.”

Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine

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