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German refs boss condemns death threat against match official

German Football Federation (DFB) referee chief Lutz Michael Froehlich, speaks during a DFB press conference. Froehlich has condemned a death threat issued against a third division match official, and the case has been reported to the authorities. Arne Dedert/dpa
German Football Federation (DFB) referee chief Lutz Michael Froehlich, speaks during a DFB press conference. Froehlich has condemned a death threat issued against a third division match official, and the case has been reported to the authorities. Arne Dedert/dpa

German Football Federation (DFB) referee chief Lutz Michael Fröhlich has condemned a death threat issued against a third division match official, and the case has been reported to the authorities.

The DFB said in a statement on Sunday that referee Martin Speckner had received the threat via an anonymous e-mail after officiating the Ingolstadt v Arminia Bielefeld match on Friday.

"Such behaviour is outrageous, disturbing and completely unacceptable," Fröhlich said in a DFB statement.

"Some people seem to know neither boundaries nor inhibitions. Where have we got to when impartial people are threatened with murder? That must have consequences, including criminal penalties."

Thge DFB said it has reported the case to Germany's Central Unit for the Suppression of Internet Crime (ZIT) in order to file a criminal complaint.

"We take such threats very seriously, even if they are made anonymously over the internet," Fröhlich said.

"Insults and threats against impartial officials are not harmless folklore, but attacks on people. Nothing can justify them," he added, saying that referees are "not fair game, but people, athletes and a natural part of the football family."