The DFB, Germany’s football association, has rejectedFreiburg’s challenge of the club’s 4-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga last weekend in which the defending champions briefly fielded 12 men during the game.
The DFB’s sports court ruled that head referee Christian Dingert and his officiating team were responsible for the mix up.
Freiburg had lodged a protest against the result on Monday evening and asked that it be reviewed for a potential rule breach. But according to the sports court, Bayern are not “culpable for the deployment of an ineligible player” during the game, and there is, therefore, no reason for denying them of victory.
Bayern Munich attempted to make a double substitution in the 86th minute of the match. However, one of the players, Kingsley Coman, didn’t come off because Bayern’s team manager Kathleen Krüger, displayed the wrong number.
The Bundesliga leaders, therefore, played 17 seconds with 12 players on the pitch when Dingert mistakenly restarted play. After Freiburg defender Nico Schlotterbeck alerted the referee of the mistake, the game was delayed for several minutes before play resumed with the correct amount of players.
After the DFB did not initiate a review of the situation, Freiburg elected to protest the result on Monday. The club said it had a duty to “the entire club in both economic in sporting terms” to do so, and the ruling would set a precedent for “other clubs who suffer comparable situations in the future.”
In its ruling, the DFB sport court said the mistake was not due to Bayern trying to break the rules but “culpable misconduct on the part of the referees.”
The participation of Bayern in the substitution chaos is “also under aspects of proportionality not enough to justify the legal consequence of a game revaluation,” Stephan Oberholz, who heads of court, said in the ruling.
The court also said the case is not comparable to one that expelled Wolfsburg from the German Cup earlier this season. Wolfsburg illegally brought on a sixth substitute in their first-round Cup tie against Preussen Münster, after which Wolfsburg scored.
With the result upheld, Bayern remain nine points ahead of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga table. Freiburg occupy fifth place, three points behind RB Leipzig in fourth place, in the chase for a Champions League slot.
Freiburg can still appeal ruling within one working day.
la/dv (dpa, SID)