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Referee: Florian Exner

Photo: Christian Kaspar-Bartke / Getty Images for DFB

The DFB has complained about a physical attack by Sandhausen's club president Jürgen Machmeier against the referee team of Florian Exner. Lutz Michael Fröhlich, head of referees at the German Football Association, spoke of a "new dimension" of misconduct against referees. The referee and his assistant Jonah Besong were physically attacked after the third-division match between SV Sandhausen and SSV Ulm 1846 (1-2) on Friday evening.

When the team of referees had left the field of play and wanted to go to the dressing room, Machmeier had pushed the referee backwards with his chest on the way there. The assistant then also received a blow to the upper body from the official. SV Sandhausen will not comment on this for the time being, a spokesman confirmed to the German Press Agency.

"It's bad enough that referees are repeatedly insulted, defamed, threatened and attacked by spectators. But when even a club president physically attacks the referee and his assistant, a new dimension has been reached," criticised Fröhlich.

Since there were no security personnel from the host club present in this situation, the referee team went back onto the pitch. Only then would stewards have allowed the referees to go to the dressing room without any problems. Earlier, Sandhausen's sporting director Matthias Imhof had verbally attacked Exner and received a red card for it.

Due to the early dismissal of defender Felix Göttlicher, who had received a yellow card in the 9th minute of the game, Sandhausen had to play the majority of the game with a man down. Fröhlich described the incidents as "completely unacceptable. Such excesses do massive damage to the image of football."