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DFB declares penalty decision in favor of Bayern Munich “incorrect”

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In a statement, the DFB’s director of its VAR area criticized his team’s failure to intervene after the controversial decision and declared the penalty call wrong.

BREMEN, GERMANY - APRIL 24: The players of Bremen protest to referee Daniel Siebert about the penalty during the DFB Cup semi final match between Werder Bremen and FC Bayern Muenchen at Weserstadion on April 24, 2019 in Bremen, Germany.
Werder Bremen’s players try in vain to change referee Daniel Siebert’s mind, April 24, 2019.
Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images

The primary subject of discussion after Bayern Munich knocked Werder Bremen out of the DFB Pokal was the controversial penalty kick that was awarded to Bayern after a very soft foul on Kingsley Coman by Gebre Selassie. After the coaches, players and pundits expressed their views, the DFB itself has taken the unusual decision to issue a statement about the incident.

In a statement published on the DFB’s website, the project leader for VAR, Dr. Jochen Drees, criticized the VAR crew for failing to intervene in the incident and called chief referee Daniel Siebert’s decision “incorrect.” He said,

We expect that VAR undertakes an objective assessment of whether a situation falls within a clearly punishable or not-punishable area; and whether it is the case that the referee’s perception is wrong. If that is the case for one of the factors from VAR’s perspective, then an on-field review absolutely must take place and [VAR] can consequently reach a decision.

In the DFB semifinal between SV Werder Bremen and FC Bayern Munich, this was unfortunately not the case in the 78th minute, because communication between the referee and VAR did not proceed smoothly [nicht gut abgelaufen ist]. On the one hand, there are aspects that militate against a penalty kick on an objective level. On the other hand, there is also an aspect that militates in favor of a penalty-worthy foul. From a technical refereeing perspective, we consider the decision to award a penalty incorrect.

The decision to issue a statement is presumably intended to quieten voices like those of Werder’s own Max Kruse, who asked after the match, “What do we have VAR for? If it doesn’t see that, we might as well abolish it again.” For all the words said about it, though, the call nonetheless stands.