Spectator becomes game official in Bundesliga

Spectator becomes official in Bundesliga after player hits assistant referee with ball

/ 01:56 PM January 28, 2024

Bundesliga referee

Assistant referee Thorben Siewer lies injured on the ground during the Bundesliga match between VfL Wolfsburg and 1. FC Koln at Volkswagen Arena, Wolfsburg, Germany, Saturday Jan. 27, 2024. (Swen Pfortner/dpa via AP)

WOLFSBURG, Germany — A spectator at a Bundesliga game was recruited as the fourth official after the assistant referee was struck in the face by the ball and taken to hospital on Saturday.

The game between Wolfsburg and Cologne was stopped in the 14th minute when Cologne player Max Finkgräfe hit a powerful clearance straight into the face of assistant referee Thorben Siewer, who was on the sideline nearby.


Siewer fell to the ground and seemed dazed, requiring around three minutes of treatment before he was helped off the field. He was replaced on the sideline by fourth official Nicolas Winter.


READ: ‘Get in the kitchen!’: life as a female football referee

Following an appeal to the crowd for any spectators who were qualified referees, 32-year-old Tobias Krull took over the fourth official role as emergency backup.

Krull is a goalkeeper for local sixth-division club MTV Gifhorn. He changed from a shirt and jeans into a black tracksuit to join the officiating crew.

Wolfsburg said Siewer was in hospital for observation.

Last week, a fan in England took over as the fourth official in extra time of an FA Cup game between Wolverhampton and Brentford. He wasn’t allowed to celebrate his team’s winning goal.

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TAGS: Bundesliga

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