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Oct 21, 2013

FIFA to make decision on 'ghost goal'

The German Football Association (DFB) has handed all responsibility regarding a possible replay of the Hoffenheim-Bayer Leverkusen game to FIFA following Stefan Kiessling’s ‘ghost goal’.

Leverkusen striker Kiessling doubled his side’s lead with a 70th-minute header which went wide, only to fly through the side netting and into the back of the net.

Referee Felix Brych allowed the goal to stand, however, and Leverkusen went on to win Friday’s game 2-1.

On Saturday, Hoffenheim confirmed that they have lodged an official complaint with the DFB.

“The aim of the lawyer’s letter via mail and fax is to request a replay of the match,” a statement on the club’s official website read.

However, DFB vice president Rainer Koch confirmed on the governing body’s official website that the final decision is not in the DFB’s hands.

“We can fully understand that such a ‘ghost goal’ is regarded as unjust. The reflexive call for a replay is understandable, but from the past we know that FIFA protects the referee’s decision,” Koch said. “What matters are which options the regulations and statutory provisions generally allow us, because FIFA is substantial in such a decision.”

In the past, FIFA has repeatedly refused to replay games following similar ‘ghost goals’. In 1994, a Thomas Helmer ‘ghost goal’ in the match between Bayern Munich and Nurnberg led to a replay, but FIFA has since tightened its rules.

Under law five, the FIFA rules now state: “The decisions of the referee regarding facts connected with play, including whether or not a goal is scored and the result of the match, are final. The referee may only change a decision on realising that it is incorrect or, at his discretion, on the advice of an assistant referee or the fourth official, provided that he has not restarted play or terminated the match.”

Since Brych restarted Friday’s match before he realised his error, it appears that a replay of game is unlikely.

And local media have voiced their concern that a replay of the game could be costly for German football.

“Should DFB begin a row with FIFA, they, in an extreme case, could ban all German teams from FIFA competitions,” an article in DerWesten read.

Meanwhile, calls for the introduction of goal line technology have grown louder in Germany.

“We could have spared us a lot of stress and trouble if we had the option to fall back onto technical means. Let’s hope that this is introduced as soon as possible,” Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voeller told kicker.

In March 2013, the German Football League decided against the introduction of goal line technology before July 1, 2015 -- unlike the Premier League, who introduced it ahead of the 2013-14 season. 

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