“Then you will die!”: 22-year-old is said to have threatened to kill the referee

“Then you will die!”
22-year-old is said to have threatened to kill the referee

Referee Martin Speckner allowed Arminia Bielefeld’s third division game against FC Ingolstadt to go on for too long. At least according to the belief of a fan, who then sent the referee a death threat. Police and public prosecutors have identified a suspect.

After a death threat against soccer referee Martin Speckner, the suspect has been identified. A 22-year-old man from Bielefeld is said to have threatened the official after the game between FC Ingolstadt and Arminia Bielefeld on April 5th, as the German Football Association (DFB) announced.

After officiating the third division game, Speckner received an email containing threats and insults. According to the DFB, the anonymous sender explicitly criticized the length of injury time in which Ingolstadt equalized to make it 1-1. The email said, among other things: “If we are relegated because of you, you will die.”

DFB Schiri GmbH then took legal action and reported the threats to the Central Office for Combating Internet Crime (ZIT). “We take such attacks seriously and are therefore happy that the author could be identified,” said referee boss Lutz Michael Fröhlich. The case should now proceed to the criminal justice system.

“Referees are not fair game”

Last Tuesday (April 9th) the Bielefeld police addressed a threat “to de-escalate the situation and rule out any possible danger to the threatened referee.”

Fröhlich strongly condemned the threat as soon as it became known. “Insults and threats against referees are not harmless folklore, but attacks on people. Nothing can justify them,” said the former top referee. Referees are “not fair game, but people, athletes and a natural part of the football family”.

Just last week, Dynamo Dresden announced that a supporter had sent Stefan Kutschke, top scorer and captain of the third division team, a threatening letter. The striker was also threatened with death, and the author also threatened to harm the professional’s wife and child if he continued to play for the club.

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