Dhe former World Cup referee Markus Merk assesses the performance of the referees in Qatar as “good to satisfactory”, but also expresses clear criticism. “The performance of the Brazilian referee in England against France did not open up to me – even if I am open to other mentalities and interpretations of the game. Clear offenses were not punished, such as foul play before the French 1-0,” said the 60-year-old from Kaiserslautern of the German Press Agency.
The English also grumbled about Wilson Sampaio’s refereeing in France’s 2-1 victory. In the knockout games, the pressure on the referees increased, Merk said: “Some referees lacked experience and acceptance here – overall with shortcomings and unequal, different duel assessments.”
No friend of long stoppage times
The former FIFA referee, who was on duty at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, found “the speed at which the VAR implemented it, especially in the area of offside decisions,” to be beneficial. Merk has mixed feelings about the longer stoppage times announced by FIFA chief referee Pierluigi Collina before the tournament. “Even if I support an appropriate stoppage time: The implementation was not always comprehensible. Then we should think about net playing time right away,” said the long-standing Bundesliga referee. At the same time he said: “I hope that we don’t start a fundamental debate in the Bundesliga in the middle of the season.”
It is striking for Merk that teams like Portugal, which have not achieved their goals, “look for the referees as an alibi”. Merk condemned the tumult in the wild quarter-final duel between Argentina and the Netherlands, which Lionel Messi and Co. won on penalties. The behavior of the teams and officials was bad: “A mistake in fair play, where you can only pity a referee.”
The performance of the only German World Cup referee Daniel Siebert, who officiated the difficult group game Uruguay against Ghana, sees Merk quite positively. In his first game, Siebert was “unobtrusive and therefore good” and would have recommended himself for a second game. The Berliner is no longer one of the remaining referees in Qatar.