Wolfgang Stark

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Wolfgang Stark
Wolfgang Stark.jpg
Stark in 2010
Born (1969-11-20) 20 November 1969 (age 46)
Landshut, West Germany
Other occupation Bank teller
Years League Role
1994– DFB Referee
1994– 2. Bundesliga Referee
1997– Bundesliga Referee
Years League Role
1999–2014 FIFA listed Referee

Wolfgang Stark (born 20 November 1969) is a German football referee who is based in Ergolding. He referees for DJK Altdorf of the Bavarian Football Association.

Refereeing career[edit]

In addition to German domestic competitions, Stark has officiated numerous matches in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. He was also selected as referee for various international tournaments, including 2008 Olympics, 2010 FIFA World Cup, and UEFA Euro 2012. Stark has received criticism throughout his career, and was even elected as the worst referee of the first half of the 2010–11 Bundesliga by the players.[1]

Controversial games[edit]

Chile vs Argentina (2007)[edit]

In 2007, he refereed five matches at the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, including the controversial semi-final between Chile and Argentina. He was questioned for his performance overseeing the match, which finished as a 3–0 win for Argentina, 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]

Chelsea vs Internazionale (2010)[edit]

Stark was criticized in 2010 for his performance after Chelsea's 0–1 loss to Internazionale in the Champions League by The Daily Telegraph. A report claimed that he had missed two clear penalties for Chelsea.[6]

Real Madrid vs Barcelona (2011)[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]

Milan vs Barcelona (2011)[edit]

The Marca newspaper also took issue with a penalty Stark awarded to Barcelona in their 3–2 win against 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 La Gazzetta 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]

Croatia vs Spain (2012)[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 their 0–1 loss against Spain, one of which was in the dying minutes of the match, just before Spain scored their sole, winning goal. Croatian players,[9] international media[10] and experts,[11] including prominent Spanish media,[12] This result eliminated Croatia, while a Croatia victory would have caused Spain, the eventual champions, to be eliminated. After that game, UEFA decided not to nominate him as referee for the remaining matches of the tournament.

Manchester United vs Galatasaray (2012)[edit]

In the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League, he refereed Galatasaray's 0–1 loss to Manchester United, after which he was highly criticized by the Turkish press for failing to detect two clear penalties for the Galatasaray side.[13]

Borussia Dortmund vs VfL Wolfsburg (2012)[edit]

In the 2012–13 Bundesliga, he refereed a match between Borussia Dortmund and VfL Wolfsburg where he awarded a penalty against Borussia Dortmund and gave a red card to Marcel Schmelzer for a handball which was incorrectly given. He later admitted fault and apologized to the Borussia Dortmund players and fans.

Paris Saint-Germain vs Barcelona (2013)[edit]

After the UEFA Champions League game between Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, which finished in a 2–2 draw, 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.

1899 Hoffenheim vs Fortuna Düsseldorf (2013)[edit]

Stark was criticised for another error during 1899 Hoffenheim's 3–0 win against Fortuna Düsseldorf, as he did not see that 1899 Hoffenheim's first goal by Roberto Firmino was preceded by a foul.

Olympiacos vs Anderlecht (2013)[edit]

Stark also received criticism for the Champions League match he officiated in December 2013 between Olympiacos and Anderlecht, which Olympiacos won 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'.

SC Paderborn vs Borussia Dortmund (2014)[edit]

During the Bundesliga match between SC Paderborn and Borussia Dortmund, which finished as a 2–2 draw, Stark mistakenly disallowed a goal by Borussia Dortmund 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 Score 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

Personal life[edit]

Stark lives in Ergolding, is married, as has one child.


  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. ^ "Chileans fight with police after loss". Archived from the original on 15 August 2007. 
  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.

External links[edit]