German football is taking up a desperate fight against bad behaviour.

In advance of the second half of the 2019-20 Bundesliga season has the association Deutscher Fussball Bund advised its referees to act more strictly and uncompromised.

Business24

After the first matchday after the winter break, German football is in the middle of a controversial debate about a growing number of yellow cards and game bans.

While critics claim referees are losing independence and any margin of personal judgment, supporters see football’s integrity in danger.

The head of the German referees, Lutz-Michael Froehlich, said the action was inevitable after the country was struck by a growing number of excesses including attacks on referees in both professional and amateur football.

One of the main reasons for the new instruction is “the exemplary role professional football has for the youth and amateur section,” as Froehlich commented.

Over recent months, German amateur football entered the headlines after several severe attacks on referees. Several of them needed medical treatment or had to be taken to hospital.

The associations’ attempt is seen as a pilot project as its effect needs to be observed over the coming months.

In the future, any verbal or physical pressure on the referees will be banned, the association announced.

Froehlich said excesses like pack forming and massive protests, beyond across the borders of common sense, had become a habit.

The fierce body-check of Frankfurt defender David Abraham against Freiburg coach Christian Streich might have been one of the trigger points.

“The number of unsporting procedures has grown to an extent we can’t tolerate anymore,” Froehlich added.

Unsporting behaviours includes pack formatting, demanding bans for opponents, cornering the referee, and uncontrolled verbal protesting.

The average number of yellow (and yellow-red) cards grew from 3.6 to 5.1 from the completed 17 matchdays of the first season half to the beginning of the second half.

The association hopes to strengthen respect for referees as it faces a decreasing number of new arrivals considering a referee career. Over the past months, the number of applicants fell by over 20 percent.

Most Bundesliga coaches support the changes, but the approval seems to decline as soon when the own team is affected.

The new rules go in the wrong direction, said Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt after Werder captain Niklas Moisander saw the yellow-red card in extra time facing Fortuna Duesseldorf after heavily protesting. Referees are losing their independence and room for individual judgment, Kohfeldt stressed.

Mainz coach Achim Beierlorzer said to implement new rules in the middle of a season is not helpful, but the general intention is a must. He doesn’t expect problems for the footballers “as they can learn quickly.”

The association is determined to continuously apply the chances. “We won’t react to every comment, but will push through until the end of the season and then see where it took us. We want the referee to be a partner and need to strengthen its authority,” Froehlich said, adding times of disrespect must be over. Enditem

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