Felix Brych, Bibiana Steinhaus named Germany′s top referees of 2018 | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 20.07.2018
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Felix Brych, Bibiana Steinhaus named Germany's top referees of 2018

World Cup official Felix Brych and Bibiana Steinhaus have been named Germany's referees of the year for 2018. Meanwhile, one of Brych's assistants in Russia has reacted to sharp criticism from Serbia's head coach.

The German football association (DFB) announced on Friday that its refereeing committee has named Felix Brych its 2018 men's referee of the year, while the Bundesliga's first female official, Bibiana Steinhaus won the award on the women's side.

"Over the past season Bibiana Steinhaus more than justified her promotion to the Bundesliga with great performances," said Helmut Geyer, the acting chairman of the DFB's refereeing committee. Last season, Steinhaus became the first female referee to officiate games in any of Europe's top five men's leagues. This is the seventh time that she has won the award.

"Felix Brych achieved a lot in 2017-18," said Lutz Michael Fröhlich, the chairman of the DFB's elite-level refereeing commission. He also noted that in addition to his appearance at the World Cup, Brych had officiated four knockout games in the Champions League.

"This is a measure of the trust that he has earned in Europe's top competitions," he added. This is the fourth time that Brych has been named German referee of the year.

Krstajic's words 'unspeakable'

Meanwhile, Stefan Lupp, one of Brych's assistants in the only match that he refereed at the World Cup, has reacted to sharp criticism from the coach of Serbia over a possible penalty that the referee did not give in their game against Switzerland. 

"I wouldn't give him either a yellow or red card; I would send him to The Hague. Then they could put him on trial, like they did to us," Mladen Krstajic, the former Schalke and Werder Bremen player told the post-match press conference. He was apparently referring to The Hague-based ICTY, a United Nations court, which until it ended its work last year, prosecuted the perpetrators of war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s.

In comments published by the online portal Sportbuzzer on Friday, assistant referee Lupp described Krstajic's assertion as "unspeakable" and "the worst abuse that we have ever had to endure."

Video referee not needed

Lupp also defended Brych's decision not to give the penalty, which many think was behind the decision to send his team of officials home after the group stage.

"We have (since) analyzed the play and come to the conclusion that we did not get it wrong," Lupp said. "In our view it was a 50-50 decision, it was not black and white, therefore there was no reason for the video referee to get involved."

The assistant referee also complained that the world governing body FIFA had provided them with no explanation for why they were sent home early.

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