08.04.2008: Three-time world’s best referee retires

German Football
By German Football April 10, 2008 21:39

08.04.2008: Three-time world’s best referee retires

Dr. Markus Merk, who was honoured as “Best Referee of the Year” three times during his illustrious career, has announced his retirement. The 46-year old Merk will resign from officiating after the conclusion of this Bundesliga season. “The timing is perfect for me. Why prolong a career that really has been very positive up to now”, said Merk in an interview with the German paper Rheinpfalz. He has officiated 333 Bundesliga games and 50 international matches so far.

Volker Roth, the head of the DFB Referee’s Board, remembers Merk’s long career: “We will miss him on the football field. Markus Merk has been an oustanding referee because of his performances, his assertiveness and his personality.” Players as well as fans will remember him as an impartial arbitrator, and as a ref who could alternate between a stern and authoritarian demeanor and a more accessible personality on the field, depending on the necessities of the game. Merk left the international stage when he had reached the age limit in November 2007.

“I certainly do not favour such a strict age barrier, which really is just another way to discriminate”, said Merk critically. “I could run the test twice in a row, which tells you everything about my physical fitness.” The passionate triathlete will now focus his efforts on conducting management seminars, his professional side of life ever since closing-down his dentist practice in 2004. Merk keeps also involved in a charity project located in the South-Indian district of Sogospatty, where funds are collected to finance the construction of schools and orphanages.

Merk was recognised as the game’s best referee in 2004, 2005 and 2007. He had joined the DFB ranks in 1984, and officiated Bundesliga games ever since 1988. He belonged to the select circle of referees chosen for the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup, as well as the 2000 and 2004 UEFA European Championships, when he conducted the final between Greece and Portugal.

German Football
By German Football April 10, 2008 21:39
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