Markus Merk bigraphy, stories - German football referee

Markus Merk : biography

March 15, 1962 -

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.

He is considered to be one of the best referees to ever officiate, being ranked 2nd behind Pierluigi Collina, in the all-time rankings.

He is currently the main referee commentator of the Turkish football channel Lig TV (which has the rights of the Turkish Super League) in 2010–2011 season.

FIFA career

Merk was referee in the 1992 Olympics (2 call-ups), fourth official in the 1993 World Cup qualifier between the Netherlands and England, 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.

Personal life

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 in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of April 15, 2006 (p. 55), it is said that he has run a marathon in a time of 2:42. In comparison, the Olympic record is only about half an hour faster. 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 ("keep-it-in-mind.de").

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine