Stress among the Bundesliga referees: ex-referee Manuel Graefe likes to hand things out, Deniz Aytekin got mad at it. Gräfe is now reacting to his statements.
The air in the German referee scene is tense. After the Bundesliga game between FC Bayern and RB Leipzig, referee Deniz Aytekin let his anger at former colleague Manuel Graefe run free. “In this stadium nobody talks about the referee. Nobody! And Manuel Gräfe sits in Berlin with his 180 kilos and talks such shit,” he raged when ZDF wanted to talk to him about controversial scenes.
Ex-referee and ZDF expert Gräfe commented on Aytekin’s statements in several tweets – and thus fueled the conflict even further. He described the referee’s outburst of anger as a “media distraction maneuver” and that Aytekin “obviously did not want to respond to legitimate questions”. Instead, problems should be distracted, according to Gräfe. His comments were factual, he stressed.
Top referee Felix Brych supports Deniz Aytekin
The former Fifa referee, who had to retire involuntarily in 2021 due to the age limit, has been working on the German referees and their bosses at the DFB on Twitter for a long time. Again and again he criticizes decisions on the field or, from his point of view, unfortunate appointments of referees in the Bundesliga. On Saturday he criticized the lack of a common line in foul games.
Gräfe also sees a fundamental problem in refereeing in the Aytekin case: “Other opinions are not accepted and the ranks close outwards – internally it looks very different.” Bundesliga top referee Felix Brych also sided with Aytekin in the “double pass” and criticized Gräfe. “I don’t think it’s good what Manu is doing either. Refereeing is a special job. Deniz was also about an incredible amount. Manu himself knows what it means to whistle such a game. That he currently picks one out every week , I don’t like that at all,” says Brych.
The men at the whistle: That’s what Bundesliga referees do as their main job
Aytekin apologizes to Manuel Gräfe
Gräfe also commented on Aytekin’s statements about his alleged body weight – and made it clear with a wink: He only weighs 91 kilograms and is 1.97 meters tall. Deniz Aytekin apologized for his choice of words the morning after the game and announced a donation of 5,000 euros. But Gräfe wasn’t entirely satisfied with that either: he should actually be able to choose where the donation goes. Aytekin apologized to him in “a long SMS” – but it doesn’t look like the dispute with the Bundesliga referees has been resolved. Instead, further explosive material is guaranteed: Gräfe wants to publish a book with revelations about the referees in the DFB soon.
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