Former FIFA World Cup referee Markus Merk regrets wrong decisions in the Champions League and is particularly critical of the additional assistant referees and the development of refereeing.
The UEFA Champions League, affectionately called “elite class”, has been affected by the performance of referees in a serious crisis. There were and will always be wrong decisions wherever there are human mistakes. I know how mistakes are made and how bitter they feel. But UEFA referees never were in as much criticism and the wrong decisions have never been so blatant, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
The Hungarian Viktor Kassai was one of the best in his profession and he was elected the world’s best referee in 2011, but his errors in the game Bayern – Barcelona were striking. He was very toleratnt with Pique’s handball, Gomez’s offside goal should have been seen as well as the handball by Alves and the resulting penalty. We are talking about the highest level, the pinnacle of the European football. Since it is difficult to understand Muller’s hockey-style bodycheck before Robben’s 3-0 goal, I do not believe in the viability of the refereeing sextet.
There is hardly a game without a serious error. Borussia Dortmund's winning goal in the previous round against Malaga will remain in our memory since the players were caught offside twice. But the opening goal, the Spaniard was also in an offside position. Poetic justice? No, two errors! In this series of blunders also joined the German team led by Wolfgang Stark. The same as Kassai, one of the best referees in recent years, he became uncertain after Euro 2012 and the series of wrong decisions ran like a red thread through his season and led to massive criticism and a protest of FC Barcelona after his performance in the quarter-finals at Paris St Germain. But even in games without German participation, there were a lot of surprising errors by the referees. Thus, the Norwegian referee Moen refused a clear penalty to Galatasaray in the quarter-finals in Madrid and thus the supposedly important away goal. He cautioned their star striker Burak Yilmaz for diving and, because of that, he was missing in the return game. Previously, Real were already beneficiaries, in the second round at Manchester United, where they brought an exaggerated red card for Nani and headed Alex Ferguson in a rage. Enough! Why are these mistakes?
More eyes see less! Since 2009, UEFA introduced referees 5 and 6. They should be not just goal judges, but "additional assistant referees" and support the main referee in decisions. I have always commented this step with great skepticism. Most errors or non-decisions happen in the penalty areas, where one is relying on the other, expelling their responsibility. This decision is all in the worlds, personally and professionally. In daily life, this is sometimes correctable, but referees must take quick decisions. Kassai and Stark are exemples of victims of this innovation. In this form, the model of “goal judges” clearly failed.
Since 2006, there has been a structural change in refereeing. Referee training has been streamlined, while individuality and personality were suppressed. Incidental training rituals have become more important as standardized error-minimizing rule interpretation and important solutions (interpretation of the handball, double punishment for denying obvious goal-scoring opportunities in the penalty area, etc.) are not competently corrected. As long as it goes mainly for personal positioning and less about professional development in the football federation’s levels, this will not improve. Too bad for football and the "elite class".
Source: Markus Merk / Sky.de