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Sports

Opinion: A bad role model

Leverkusen's Roger Schmidt on Sunday refused to leave the coaching area after he was ordered to the stands by the referee. This is not only unprofessional, but it is also arrogant, writes DW's Olivia Gerstenberger.

No, Roger Schmidt isn't the first football coach to have a difference of opinion with a referee. He's also not the first to raise his voice in protest - before being sent to the stands. However, he is one of the first to refuse to obey a referee's order to leave. This is not only unprofessional, but it is also arrogant. A coach who ignores a referee's order is not just being disrespectful but he's also poorly advised. Any coach should have learned long before getting to the Bundesliga, that this is a battle he can't win. And what kind of a role model is a coach who defies a referee? Felix Zwayer had no choice but to stop the game until Schmidt had left the touchline. That is what it says in the rulebook, and the incident was the first of its kind for the Bundesliga.

One could object to the fact that referee Zwayer refused to walk over to the touchline to personally tell Schmidt - who several times earlier had also displayed unsportsmanlike behavior to the officials - to go to the stands. However, his gesture, made "with eye contact" with the coach, was crystal clear. Perhaps a bit more tact could have helped, but no referee is required to justify himself to any coach (or player). Schmidt conceded after the final whistle that he had been too stubborn, before adding: "However, in such a tight contest the referee needs to show a better feel (for this particular game)." This doesn't sound like someone who has seen the error of his ways.

Rudi Völler weighs in

To make matters worse, Leverkusen's sporting director, Rudi Völler, weighed in on the matter in an interview with "Sky Deutschland". Völler's argument: The referee should have personally come to the touchline to deliver the verdict to Schmidt and that suspending the game was unnecessary. Not just that, but Felix Zwayer had deliberately denied Leverkusen a penalty by not calling a clear handball in the Dortmund box.

This is not the first time that Völler has lost his cool. He needs to learn to bite his tongue after a heated contest, just like Schmidt should do during the game itself. That's because, despite all of the emotions, one thing is true: The referee's decision is final. Whoever doesn't know that, needs to learn it - if necessary, by way of a scandal.