Wolfgang Stark

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Wolfgang Stark
Wolfgang Stark.jpg
Stark refereeing a Champions League match between Spartak Moscow and Olympique de Marseille in 2010.
Born (1969-11-20) 20 November 1969 (age 46)
Landshut, Germany
Years League Role
1996– Fußball-Bundesliga Referee
Years League Role
1999–2014 FIFA-listed Referee

Wolfgang Stark (born 20 November 1969 in Landshut) is a German football referee. He has refereed matches in the Champions League and qualifications to the European Football Championship and the World Cup. In 2007, he refereed five matches at the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup including the controversial semi-final between Chile and Argentina.



Stark was selected as a referee for the 2008 Summer Olympics football tournament and for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In the 2010-11 season of the German Bundesliga he was elected worst referee of the first half of the season by the players.[1]

Controversial games[edit]

Chile-Argentina FIFA 2007[edit]

He was questioned for his performance overseeing the Chile–Argentina match in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, having "lost control of the match early" [2] and for issuing seven yellow cards (out of nine) and two red cards against the Chilean team during the match.[3] In total he issued 53 fouls, 30 of which he charged to Chile.[4]

Following the match Stark and his colleagues were surrounded by livid Chilean players who were restrained by members of the Toronto Police. Stark then had to be escorted off of the pitch and into the dressing room tunnel by police officers for fear that he would be attacked by the crowd and/or Chilean players at the National Soccer Stadium.[5] Chilean players, still angry after losing the match, fought with and were pepper-sprayed by police officers outside of the stadium. The players were temporarily held inside the stadium by the police for several hours and were released without being arrested.[5]

Champions League Match 2010[edit]

Stark was criticized for his performance in the Champions League match between Chelsea and Internazionale in 2010 by the Daily Telegraph. A report claimed that he had missed two clear penalties for Chelsea.[6]

Madrid-Barcelona UEFA Champions League[edit]

Stark's performance has also been questioned in some Madrid-based newspapers after Real Madrid's 2-0 loss to Barcelona in the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League.[7] The Marca sportspaper also took issue with a penalty Stark awarded to FC Barcelona in their 3-2 defeat of AC Milan in the next Champions League season's group stage, saying "Aquilani grabbed Xavi inside the box but the contact was not enough to topple Barca brain." The Italian press was less conclusive, with the Gazetta dello Sport calling the decision "generous". After the incident he then booked the wrong player, when in fact he should have cautioned Alberto Aquilani who would have been sent off for the offence as it would have been his second booking.[8]

UEFA European Championship in Poland[edit]

During 2012 UEFA European Championship, in Poland, Wolfgang Stark was again at the center of controversy, as he failed to signal what were considered to be one or two clear penalties for Croatia in the match against Spain, both by Croatian players,[9] international media[10] and experts,[11] including prominent Spanish media,[12] one of which was in the dying minutes of the match, just before Spain scored their sole, winning goal. This result eliminated Croatia, while a Croatia victory would result in Spain being eliminated. After that game, UEFA decided not to nominate him as referee for the remaining parties of the tournament.

UEFA Champions Leqgue 2012[edit]

In the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League, he refereed the Manchester United - Galatasaray, after which he was highly criticized by the Turkish press for failing to detect two clear penalties for the Galatasaray side.[13]

2012–13 Fußball-Bundesliga[edit]

In the 2012–13 Fußball-Bundesliga,he refereed a match between Borussia Dortmund - VFL Wolfsburg where he awarded a penalty against Borussia Dortmund and gave a Red card to Marcel Schmelzer for a handball which was not supposed to be given. He later admitted fault and apologized to the Borussia Dortmund players and fans.

Hoffenheim vs Düsseldorf[edit]

Shortly after the Borussia Dortmund - VFL Wolfsburg game, Stark made a new error in the game between Hoffenheim and FC Düsseldorf (3-0)when he did not see that Hoffenheims first goal by Roberto Firmino was preceded by a foul.

Olympiacos-Anderlecht Europeans Champions League game of December 2013[edit]

In the European Champions League game of 10 December 2013 he was the referee of Olympiacos-Anderlecht (3-1). Olympiacos had to win in order to qualify if Benfica also won against Paris Saint Germain. The commentator of the Belgian television already mentioned prior to the game that Stark is a typical home referee. When Benfica took the lead against PSG, Stark gave 3 consecutive penalties to Olympiacos and sent off 3 Anderlecht-players. Some of these decisions were questionable (like the first penalty with involuntary hands ball, where it was questionable if it should have been a penalty and certainly not a red card). The 3rd penalty could also have been a 'schwalbe'.

Complaints against Stark[edit]

After the Europeans Champions League game between Paris Saint Germain and FC Barcelona (2012-2013 Champions League), FC Barcelona wrote an official complaint to UEFA claiming that Stark did not know the rules of the game. it was Barcelona's understanding that the referee 'clearly forgot to apply the rules of the game' after he did not stop the game at a moment where two players of the same team were lying on the ground. Barcelona did not want to raise a complaint against a referee as such, but was highly surprised that a referee at that level simply did not know the rules of the game. After this incident German newspaper Die Welt called Stark 'umstrittenster Schiedsrichter' (most questionable referee) in Europe.

Paderborn-Borussia 2014[edit]

In the Bundesliga game of 22 November 2014, where Stark was a referee of Paderborn-Borussia Dortmund (2-2), Stark mistakenly disallowed a goal for offside, leading to Dortmund's draw to the newly promoted Paderborn.

Games at the 2010 FIFA World Cup[edit]

Date Time (UTC+2) Team #1 Res. Team #2 Round Attendance
12 June 2010 16:00  Argentina 1–0  Nigeria Group B 55,686
23 June 2010 16:00  Slovenia 0–1  England Group C 36,893
26 June 2010 16:00  Uruguay 2–1  South Korea Round of 16 30,597


  1. ^ Kicker online: Stark stellt sich der Kritik, 11 January 2011 (retrieved 2 June 2011; German)
  2. ^ TheStar.com | Sports | Beautiful game turns ugly
  3. ^ FIFA.com
  4. ^ https://web.archive.org/20070815153930/http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com:80/2007/soccer/07/20/bc.soc.u20.chilefight.ap/index.html. Archived from the original on 15 August 2007.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ a b Argentina advances to FIFA U-20 final - FIFA U-20 - Sports - CBC.ca
  6. ^ Winter, Henry (17 March 2010). "Chelsea 0 Inter Milan 1: match report". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  7. ^ ESPN soccernet | Stark and Messi dominate Spanish press
  8. ^ "Wolfgang Starks San Siro Screw Ups The Non Penalty The Wrong Milan Booking The Messi Tellow". 101 Great Goals. 
  9. ^ "EURO 2012: IT’S TIME TO RAISE THE BAR, SAYS SPAIN STAR FERNANDO TORRES". Express. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  10. ^ "Bilic showed you how to beat Spain". London: The Sun. 20 June 2012. 
  11. ^ "Stark pfeift Spanier ins Viertelfinale" (in German). Focus. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  12. ^ "Spain struggles like never before but wins as usual". Marca. 19 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  13. ^ Iki penaltimizi vermedi (In Turkish). Fanatik. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Carlos Velasco Carballo
UEFA Europa League Final referee
Succeeded by
Björn Kuipers