Largely due to the controversy that surrounded Felix Zwayer’s officiating performance in Bayern Munich’s 3-2 win over Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker earlier this month, he will no longer be refereeing any matches involving Die Schwarzgelben. Per a new report from kicker (via Abendzeitung), Lutz Michael Fröhlich, who is chairman of the elite referees committee for the DFB confirmed that Zwayer would no longer play a part in Dortmund matches.
“In my opinion, it would not be responsible towards all sides in such a case or a comparable case to set up the same constellation again straight away. There should be some time in the country,” Fröhlich explained on the matter. He is still one of the most experienced officials in the Bundesliga, but his reputation is slightly blemished by his association with the Robert Hoyzer scandal from 2004. Germany also has age restrictions for referees to the point where they cannot officiate after a certain age, while there is always still the argument of making reformations to that rule to get the most-experienced refs for the biggest occasions in the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal, respectively.
Circling Back: Jude Bellingham’s comments
The controversy all stemmed from comments Jude Bellingham had made after Dortmund losing at home to Bayern Munich. Zwayer had made two controversial calls in deciding not to award Marco Reus a penalty and conceding a penalty by virtue of an arguable Mats Hummels handball in Dortmund’s box that Robert Lewandowski converted. In an emotionally fueled post match interview, Bellingham said, “You give a referee who has already match fixed before the biggest game in Germany. What do you expect,” regarding the two major incidents in question.
Criminal complaints were lodged at Bellingham by a DFB volunteer on the grounds of defamation. Former DFB referee Manuel Gräfe had also been critical of Zwayer doing post-match punditry for ZDF, criticizing the lack of “balance” shown by Zwayer during the match. In the end, Bellingham was fined €40,000 by the DFB, but he was able to escape a ban that was originally anticipated to come forth.
In addition to providing the update on Zwayer, Fröhlich also went on to say that he doesn’t feel Zwayer actually accepted money from Hoyzer back in 2004. Rather, he feels that Zwayer only expected the guilty verdict despite allegations that he had accepted money from Hoyzer. “Here was the statement of Robert Hoyzer, Felix Zwayer had taken money, against that of Felix Zwayer, who denied it. In this situation, he then accepted the verdict. Whenever the case was reopened in recent years, Felix had emphasized to me that he had not accepted any money,” Fröhlich explained.