Markus Merk at an international friendly between Switzerland and Brazil in November 2006
March 15, 1962 |
|Occupation||Dentist, football referee|
Markus Merk (born March 15, 1962 in Kaiserslautern) is a former top-level German football referee. He is a six-time winner of the German Referee of the Year Award and the record holder in games refereed in the Bundesliga. In 2005, Merk was awarded the German Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Cross of Merit) in recognition of his service to football and his charity work in India. He ended his career by refereeing the match between Bayern München and Hertha BSC Berlin on the last day of the Bundesliga season 2007/08 on May 17, 2008.
In 1988, Merk was appointed the youngest Bundesliga referee ever, aged 25, representing his home club 1. FC Kaiserslautern. He became a FIFA referee four years later, and officiated at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. In the following years, Merk established himself as a headstrong, reliable referee. He was elected an unprecented six times as German Referee of the Year.
2001 Bundesliga season finals incident
In the last gameday of the 2000-1 Bundesliga season, Merk was assigned to referee the match between Hamburger SV and FC Bayern Munich. Bayern was leading Schalke by three points, however, Schalke had the better goal differential. In the 93rd minute, HSV were leading Bayern 1-0, and Schalke had just won 5-3 versus SpVgg Unterhaching. Then Merk awarded an indirect free kick for Bayern following a HSV back pass, which Bayern's Patrik Andersson converted. Schalke lost the title, and Merk suffered intense verbal and physical abuse after that. Merk never again refereed a Schalke game.
- 1988/89 7 Games 15 yellow cards (Average 2.14) 0 Red Cards
- 1989/90 8 Games 24 yellow cards (Average 3.00) 2 Red Cards
- 1990/91 9 Games 30 Yellow Cards (Average 3.33) 1 Red Card
- 1991/92 13 Games 46 Yellow cards (Average 3.54) 3 Red Cards
- 1992/93 11 Games 40 Yellow cards (Average 3.64) 6 Red Cards
- 1993/94 11 Games 42 Yellow Cards (Average 3.82) 6 Red Cards
- 1994/95 13 Games 58 Yellow Cards (Average 4.46) 8 Red Cards
- 1995/96 13 Games 58 Yellow Cards (Average 4.46) 3 Red Cards
- 1996/97 18 Games 84 Yellow Cards (Average 4.67) 6 Red Cards
- 1997/98 18 Games 70 Yellow Cards (Average 3.89) 5 Red Cards
- 1998/99 17 Games 65 Yellow Cards (Average 3.82) 1 Red Card
- 1999/00 20 Games 70 Yellow Cards (Average 3.5) 3 Red Cards
- 2000/01 22 Games 91 Yellow Cards (Average 4.55) 5 Red Cards
- 2001/02 17 Games 75 Yellow Cards (Average 4.41) 5 Red Cards
- 2002/03 22 Games 81 Yellow Cards (Average 3.68) 4 Red Cards
- 2003/04 24 Games 101 Yellow Cards (Average 4.21) 8 Red Cards
- 2004/05 22 Games 75 Yellow Cards (Average 3.41) 3 Red Cards
- 2005/06 25 Games 108 Yellow Cards (Average 4.32) 6 Red Cards
- 2006/07 24 Games 63 Yellow Cards (Average 2.63) 0 Red Cards
- 2007/08 24 Games 55 Yellow Cards (Average 2.29) 2 Red Cards
Markus Merk's refereeing of the final match of UEFA Euro 2004 was strongly opposed by Portugal. Portugal's opponent was Greece, whose team's coach, Otto Rehhagel, was a dental patient of Merk. Nevertheless, Merk received worldwide recognition for his excellent refereeing in this game.
On 21 April 2004, during a Champions League semi-finals match against former team Porto, Jorge Andrade, Deportivo's defender, was sent off by Markus Merk for a kick on Deco. The gesture was of a friendly nature, but the referee was eluded by it, and immediately gave the defender his marching orders. He was forced to serve a one-match ban. Eventually Jose Mourinho's team will qualify to the final.
In the 2004-05 Champions League quarter-finals he whistled the second leg game between AC Milan and Inter Milan and controversially dissalowed the goal from Inter-player Esteban Cambiasso, which led to Inter-fans throwing bottles and flares onto the pitch and the game was eventually abandoned.
Merk was referee in the 1992 Olympics (2 call-ups), fourth official in the 1993 World Cup qualifier between the Netherlands and England - when he had to repeatedly restrain the furious England manager Graham Taylor, when a penalty and red card decision had gone against England - Taylor felt Ronald Koeman should have been sent off and England have a penalty for a professional foul on David Platt. Neither happened - and Koeman went on to score against England. Taylor was furious at the referee, and had to be restrained by fourth official Merk - yet years later, in an interview with the Observer, he said that now he was grateful to Merk for not sending him to the stands when he could have, instead sympathizing with Taylor, the UEFA Euro 2000 (3), the 2002 FIFA World Cup (2) and the UEFA Euro 2004 (3). In that tournament, he also whistled the final, becoming the first German referee since Rudi Glöckner of East Germany in 1970, to helm a World Cup or European Championship Finals. His assistants were Jan-Hendrik Salver and Christian Schräer. Merk also refereed the 1997 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final, and the 2003 UEFA Champions League Final. He was the referee in the semi final of the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup between Cameroon and Colombia, a game remembered for the death of Marc-Vivien Foé.
In the 2006 World Cup, he whistled three matches with mediocre results. After the match Australia-Brazil, he was verbally blasted by Harry Kewell for allegedly lop-sided, pro-Brazil refereeing , and after Ghana's victory over the United States, US Coach Bruce Arena and several players heavily criticized Merk's controversial call where he awarded a vital penalty kick to Ghana. The United States vs. Ghana game was the last game in the 2006 World Cup for Merk, as he was not chosen to referee any of the games in the knockout stages. Merk was highly critical of the whole FIFA refereeing process after that, stating in the German sports TV show das aktuelle Sportstudio, it "robbed me two weeks of my life" being forced to stay in the referee camp without a call-up, and adding a mere two was a bitterly meagre payoff regarding the fact he (among others) had to visit countless seminars and were sent on small junior tournaments all over the world to merely assist, comparing it to as if Ronaldinho would have to agree to sit on the bench for the Brazilian U 20 in order to qualify for the World Cup.
Merk is also a long-time proponent of instant video replay to judge critical scenes. On March 1, 2008, Werder Bremen striker Markus Rosenberg scored a goal from clear offside position; Merk initially gave the goal, but immediately after that realised it was illegal, but it was too late to retract his error. He called it "the most bitter moment of my career" and called for introduction of instant replay.
- DFB German Referee of the Year: 1995, 1996, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006
- Bundesverdienstkreuz (major order of merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) 2005
The religious Merk is active helping slums in India, providing basic dental care for the poor since 1991. He helps the Indienhilfe Kaiserslautern, which erects schools and housing for the homeless, as well as offering basic medical care.
A dentist by trade, Merk lives in Otterbach with his wife and son. He was a professional dentist until 2005, when he stopped practising because of his opposition to the so-called Praxisgebühr, a measure introduced by the German government taxing patients visiting doctors. Today, he leads motivational seminars. During his youth and teens, Merk suffered ridicule because of his high-pitched, squeaky voice. After undergoing extensive speech therapy, he now talks in a normal baritone. (Reference: his book BeWEGEnd).
Merk is also one of the fittest referees in the game. He regularly laps his colleagues in the annual fitness tests, and his personal best for a marathon is 2:42  He is also a dedicated triathlete. 
As a side note, "Merk" is the imperative form of the German verb "merken" (to notice, to keep in mind). For this reason, his homepage is named merk-es-dir.de ("keep-it-in-mind.de").
- Markus Merk: BeWEGEnd
- Markus Merk: Untersuchungen zur Formänderung kalt- und heißpolymerisierender Prothesenkunststoffe nach Behandlung im Ultraschallbad ("Examinations on the form change of cold- and hot-polymerising prothesis plastics after ultrasound treatment"), Dissertation by Markus Merk, University of Cologne, 1990.
- IFFHS: "All-Time World Referee Ranking"
- "Milan game ended by crowd trouble". BBC News. April 12, 2005.
- "Internazionale 0 - 1 Milan (Agg: 0 - 3)". Guardian. 12 April 2005. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Saffer, Paul (7 December 2005). "Artmedia enjoy UEFA Cup bonus". UEFA.
It took some desperate defending to whip the ball away from him in the goalmouth
- "Artmedia Bratislava - FC Porto 0:0". Cas (in Slovak). 7 Dec 2005.
- Starý, Petr (6 Dec 2005). "Artmedia Bratislava (SVK) - FC Porto (POR)". Eurofotbal.cz (in Czech).
- Jackson, Jamie (1 October 2006). "How did it feel ...". http://www.theguardian.com/. The Guardian.
- "Fall after the call". Sports Illustrated. June 22, 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-23.
- "Two main events hurt U.S. team's fortunes in loss to Ghana". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2006-06-23.
- Nach Patzer: Merk will den Videobeweis
- Markus Merk's homepage (German)
- FIFA Profile
- DFB: Markus Merk
- Fanclub 1. FCK: Markus Merk's India charity
|UEFA European Football Championship final match referees
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final 1996
|UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final Referees
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final 1998
UEFA Champions League Final 2002
|UEFA Champions League Referees
UEFA Champions League Final 2004
Kim Milton Nielsen