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Bundesliga Kick off!

Knut Kircher

Knut Kircher is refereeing the sixty-fifth German cup final. Before he left for Berlin Kircher rearranged his living room to accommodate the kick off crew...So where's he going to be on Saturday

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Knut Kircher:
"19th of April at eight? Pretty much in the middle of the Olympic stadium in Berlin. Somewhere in the centre circle. I think that every Bundesliga referee wants to be at the cup final in Berlin some time in their career, to be in the middle of things. Not on the sidelines, as fourth official, but really in the thick of it. With 80 thousand people packing the stadium there's something special about being in Berlin and refereeing the match."

DWTV:
"Can I ask a referee who's going to win?"

Knut Kircher:
"You can ask me, no problems there. But I can't say anything. I imagine the better team will win, but who that will be at that moment in time I don't know. It depends on the form."


Knut Kircher is an engineer by profession, he works at Mercedes in Stuttgart. The FIFA-accredited referee is the father of three children. He's regarded as one of the best refs in Germany, and will soon be refereeing in Europe and internationally. He's described as straight up, confident and fair.

DWTV:
"What character traits make a good referee?"

Knut Kircher:

"You need a thick skin. But I don't know if that's a character trait. You have to be able to take criticism, sure. That means I can't run around the pitch and keep making different decisions. I have to be reliable and honest. That goes a long way with players. You have to be authentic as a person, and not try to copy someone or mimic them."

DWTV:
"You were at the 2002 cup final as the fourth official. How strict does a referee have to be? Back then you sent both coaches, Toppmüller and Stevens, from Leverkusen and Schalke, up into the stands."

Knut Kircher:
"That's right. People will remember me for that game for a long time. And I wouldn't handle the situation like that nowadays. You learn over the years. And I know what's acceptable, what works, how I can defuse a situation to prevent any conflict on the sidelines of the match. I'd say the match hasn't been forgotten. But I've developed personally since 2002."


DWTV:
"What's your opinion of technical innovations like video replays or a chip in the ball?"

Knut Kircher:
"I'd like to differentiate. Sure, looking at technical aids then you've got goal recognition systems like the chip in the ball when we're talking about 100% accuracy, you know the ball's crossed the line even if the goalkeeper is lying on it. But then there's the video replay affecting open play. I'd say yes to the chip, but I'm against video replays in open play. It takes all the spontaneity out of the game. It means I have to be make a ruling on absolutely everything. But where do you start...with all penalty area action? Free kicks? Throw-ins? All debatable yellow cards? I can't see where the limits should be."


Referees live dangerously. Not everyone agrees with their decisions. And sometimes that turns into violence. And if a referee doesn't even feel safe in his private life, the only option is to quit. That's what happened to Sweden's Anders Frisk.

Knut Kircher:
"Anders Frisk was my mentor for a season. I talked to him a lot about the situations he had to deal with. I could feel what he was going through. He had to apply for police protection for his family, and had to go into hiding. Those things have nothing to do with refereeing, it has more to do with fanaticism than with football."

DWTV:

"What happens in special moments, like when Ribery or Diego do something brilliant. Does it amaze you?"

Knut Kircher:
"Sure. I love football, enough to say something is special...and I tell the players as well. Afterwards when everything has calmed down, I'll say that was really something special...well done."

DWTV:
"How great is the temptation to get stuck in yourself?"

Knut Kircher:

"I think I talked to a newspaper once about my greatest dream as a referee. If a match is already decided...I'm not talking about playing a decisive role...but if the result is already clear...like a team is winning five nil and then this fantastic cross comes in from the right...a dream of a cross, like those from Manni Kaltz...and the referee sees the strikers can't get to the ball and he's on the far post, I'm talking about me, and I hammer the ball into the net or head it in, and turn away and celebrate. That's the inner heart of the footballer speaking, the one which beats in every referee."


Five nil, like last weekend...the time could come sooner than we think...