The second assistant referee in the match between Wolfsburg and Cologne in the German Football League on Saturday was taken to hospital after the ball accidentally hit his face.
Arena referee Zorn Storks said on Sky: “The assistant referee is in good condition, but he was transferred to the hospital to be under observation tonight.”
Assistant referee Thorben Seewer was injured after 14 minutes when Cologne defender Max Winkgravy accidentally blocked the ball in his face.
The strangest thing just happened to me in a game I have ever narrated.
Ball hit the flag bearer, he cannot continue on the field, the 4th referee enters and a former amateur player, who was in the stands, came down to the field to be the 4th referee in Wolfsburg-Koln
Bundesliga. 🚬 pic.twitter.com/7v3wyOdn3m
— Ramón Cáceres (@reymonero) January 27, 2024
Cologne coach Timo Schulz said, “I hope the assistant referee is in the best condition and recovers quickly. I noticed as he left the field that he was unable to look forward.”
The match was stopped for 15 minutes due to this incident, as the assistant referee received some first aid on the bench until he was replaced by fourth referee Nicholas Venter.
Then the stadium's internal announcer asked the crowd about the presence of a person among those present who held a referee's license, until Tobias Kroll, a 32-year-old former Wolfsburg player, came forward to take over the task.
The official spokesman for the referees, Alex Feuerhardt, said, “If we had not found a referee on the field, we would have continued the match without a fourth official.”
Kroll is a goalkeeper and works as sporting director for MTV Gifhorn, one of the teams adjacent to Wolfsburg Stadium.