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Sports

German FA backs Bundesliga referee Zwayer after Leverkusen-Dortmund incident

Referee Felix Zwayer sent both teams off the pitch after Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt refused to leave the touchline as ordered by the official. The German FA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the coach.

Referee Felix Zwayer has been given the support of the German FA's referees' committee after his decision to suspend Sunday's match between Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund for nine minutes.

Speaking to reporters after the match, Zwayer said Roger Schmidt had behaved in an "unsportsmanlike" manner after he had ordered the Leverkusen coach to the stands for loudly protesting against Dortmund's match-winning goal. After Stefan Kiessling was called for a foul near the Dortmund penalty area, Sven Bender moved the ball around five meters up from where the infraction occurred before taking a quick free kick. Leverkusen were then caught on a quick break, which led to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's 64th-minute goal.

Zwayer "technically made the correct decision after the Dortmund goal," according to Herbert Fandel, the head of the referees' committee since 2010. "If a player or even the coach refuses to leave the field after a sending off, the play will be stopped and the threat of a postponement is the right decision."

Leverkusen coach Schmidt apologized for his actions after the game, saying that he had failed to live up to his duty to be a role model in the sport. The 48-year-old coach could face a fine or even a touchline ban for his actions after the German FA announced that it had opened disciplinary proceedings against both him and Leverkusen's sporting director, Rudi Völler, over the incident.

rd/pfd (dpa, SID)