Freiburg reluctantly appeal to DFB after Bayern field 12 players

By Sports Desk April 04, 2022

Freiburg have reluctantly decided to appeal to the German Football Association (DFB) following "intensive" discussions within the club after Bayern Munich inadvertently briefly fielded 12 players on Saturday.

The Bundesliga leaders were 3-1 up and on the way to winning 4-1 when Julian Nagelsmann removed Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman and sent on Marcel Sabitzer and Niklas Sule.

However, Coman did not realise he was being replaced after his number was not raised, and he did not leave the pitch immediately, with referee Christian Dingert resuming the game before the error was noticed.

The game continued for several seconds before being halted as all concerned attempted to make sense of the situation, and the incident may see Freiburg declared 2-0 winners, as per the DFB rules.

According to paragraph 17, article 4 of the rulebook: "If a player was not eligible to play or be fielded in a game, the team that culpably fielded this player lost the game 2-0 and the opponent won 2-0."

This rule is only to be utilised if the match is allowed to proceed by the referee, as it was at the Europa-Park Stadion – an additional 12th player on the field would be considered ineligible to take part.

Referee Dingert acknowledged that an incorrect number for Coman was initially displayed and that it did not change the outcome of the game, but added "everything else will be decided by the DFB" to TZ.

Freiburg undertook an "intensive and extremely differentiated process of deliberation" to discuss the "mistake" by Bayern and concluded that they must appeal even if against their will in an "uncomfortable" scenario.

A club statement on Monday read: "First of all: We are in a dilemma through no fault of our own. SC Freiburg had no part or influence on the events surrounding the change process. 

"Nevertheless, the legal and procedural rules of the DFB formally force us to play an active role in order to have the processes legally checked. In principle, we have no interest whatsoever in this active role, which has been given to us against our will in terms of procedural technology, and we feel extremely uncomfortable in it.  

"We therefore consider this procedural regulation in its overall construction to be inappropriate. Ultimately, it burdens the completely uninvolved club - in this case us - with the responsibility for processing an obvious violation of the rules.

"Nevertheless, after intensive discussions at different levels and a legal examination, the board of the Sport-Club Freiburg eV decided to appeal against the rating of the game."

Freiburg cited the opportunity for the sports court to evaluate Bayern's error and the creation of future "legal certainty in comparable cases" for other clubs as decisive in the decision-making process.

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