Knut Kircher Named Successor to DFB Referee Boss Lutz Michael Fröhlich

The DFB has found a successor for referee boss Lutz Michael Fröhlich. Knut Kircher will take over for the 2024/25 season with clear goals – and therefore earlier than planned.

In the middle again from 2024/25 – but not on the pitch: Knut Kircher (right), here in the summer at the legendary game between Bayern and Dortmund with Bastian Schweinsteiger. IMAGO/Eibner

But Knut Kircher will be much more present in German football in the new season. The long-time FIFA and Bundesliga referee will be the new managing director of sports and communications at DFB Schiri GmbH on July 1, 2024, and will therefore be the successor to Lutz Michael Fröhlich. He had already declared in July that he did not want to extend his contract, which expires on December 31, 2024, but is now making room six months earlier than planned.

“I’m really looking forward to this task and am very clearly aware of the great responsibility that comes with it,” says Kircher, who led 244 Bundesliga games between 2001 and 2016 and, among other things, refereed the 2008 DFB Cup final. Since retiring, the 54-year-old has worked as a referee observer at the elite level. His main job is as a human resources manager at Mercedes-AMG.

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In his new role at the DFB, Kircher wants to “take German refereeing to the next level with clarity, internal and external transparency and straightforwardness – nationally and internationally. This level is needed so that we continue to be among the world’s best with our referees and that Football in Germany and Europe can give the personalities that are needed for very good game management.” To do this, he would like to establish “close solidarity with everyone involved in the game”. “Because only together will we be able to continue to make football, with all its beautiful aspects, attractive to football fans. This requires open, honest and, above all, constructive dialogue.”

Kircher happily wishes “the greatest possible support from all sides”

In the application process, which the DFB carried out together with an external agency, Kircher prevailed against “several very suitable” candidates, according to DFB Vice President Ronny Zimmermann – much to Fröhlich’s delight. “My heartfelt congratulations go to Knut Kircher, who brings excellent expertise as a manager in a global corporation and has a long-standing, successful career as a FIFA and Bundesliga referee,” says the 66-year-old, who has been in the Bundesliga since January 1, 2022 office and was previously the sporting director of the elite referees for five and a half years. “I wish him the best of luck and success for this great challenge, and above all the greatest possible support from all sides. And I look forward to spending time together during the ‘handing over of the baton’.”

2023-12-06 13:34:28
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