Does the DFB tip the age limit for referees?

WA few weeks before the trial with Manuel Gräfe, referee boss Lutz Michael Fröhlich brought up the relaxation of the age limit for top referees. The lawsuit brought by the former Bundesliga referee Gräfe, who is responsible for the German Football Association (DFB) brought to court for age discrimination, get new explosives. The hearing before the regional court in Frankfurt/Main is scheduled for November 16th.

Despite a wave of protests from the Bundesliga, Gräfe, who is popular with players and those responsible, had to end his active career as a referee at the end of the 2020/2021 season after 289 appearances in the upper house because the Berliner had reached the age limit of 47. Gräfe himself does not want to return to the pitch, but wants to fight for his younger colleagues. “The point is that this should be abolished in principle,” he explained with a view to the lawsuit.

According to the Fröhlich statements, he seems to have come a big step closer to this goal. “Most referees have so far geared their careers on the field to the age of 47. That’s actually not a limit, but rather a guideline,” Fröhlich told Sport Bild: “But if someone has everything in the overall package and meets the requirements to also be a referee on the field, then you should also take that into account .” Among other things, Fröhlich mentions the “internal and external appearance, socially competent behavior and loyalty” as aspects of the “overall package”.

This definition could be seen as a tip against Gräfe, who had recently pleaded for the replacement of the 64-year-old Fröhlich. With regard to the ongoing discussion about the performance of the referees, Gräfe had put it on the record on ZDF that it was not the individual referees who were responsible, “but the referee management”. Gräfe would like to replace Fröhlich with the former referee Urs Meier: “A Swiss, a top man who would simply evaluate the performance of the referees and bring them into shape, regardless of politics, personal, regional influences.”

In view of the criticism from numerous sides, Fröhlich admits that there is room for improvement in refereeing. “There is a need for improvement,” said the Berliner: “As far as the work with the referees is concerned, we must continue to work on a unified line.”

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