Bayer Leverkusen’s 2-1 Bundesliga win over Hoffenheim last week helped by a phantom goal will not be replayed despite the ball going in through a hole in the netting, Germany’s sports court said on Monday).
In a decision which the court admitted may not be satisfactory to fans, the Hoffenheim appeal was rejected because there was at no point a violation of the rules by the referee.
Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling’s 70th-minute header flew just wide of the post and hit the side netting but went through a hole and ended up in the goal.
Referee Felix Brych awarded a goal after consulting his assistants, putting Leverkusen 2-0 ahead at the time and triggering an outcry over the blatant mistake and the need for goalline technology in Germany, a tool already in use in other domestic and international competitions.
“It is a situation in which no one looks good – the referee doesn’t look good, TSG Hoffenheim doesn’t look good because they had a hole in the net, Bayer Leverkusen doesn’t look good, Stefan Kiessling doesn’t look good because he has to face the allegations of not being a fair sportsman, for which I think there is no reason. We don’t look good because our view is not that of the general public. A situation like this could have been avoided if goal-line technology was being used,” judge Hans Lorenz, who heads the German football association’s (DFB) sports court told reporters in Frankfurt.
Lorenz had earlier heard testimony from Brych and Kiessling as well as the assistants and two Hoffenheim groundsmen.
Leverkusen’s sports director, Rudi Voeller defended the player:
“Today Dr Felix Brych said again what Stefan Kiessling said in the proceedings, that Stefan Kiessling also did not know if it (the ball) had gone in, that he was very unsure and also thought that it went to the side. I’m sure he did not lie and there is no discussion to be had about Stefan Kiessling, he is a great guy and after this difficult week he will find his way back on track,” he said.
Kiessling had been accused by fans of seeing the ball go in from the side and not telling the referee, a claim which the striker vehemently denied.
“Of course some of the pressure is gone and I am happy that it has come out that I am not guilty and that apart from the fact that I headed the ball in, I had just as much to do with this as everyone else who was on the field,” Kiessling told reporters.
Hoffenheim have the right to appeal court’s decision within one week.
“We are of course extremely disappointed. We expected that we would perhaps have the chance to replay the game. We heard what the judge said, he has a different view about our argument that the whole case is absurd, and we just have to accept this,” said Alexander Rosen, Hoffenheim’s sports director.