Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt was on Wednesday banned from the bench for five league games and fined 20,000 euros ($22,031) after refusing a referee’s order to leave the touchline during a Bundesliga match.
The German Football Association (DFB) has taken a hard line with Schmidt, who is banned for the next three league games, against Mainz, Werder Bremen and Augsburg, with a further two games suspended until June 30 2017.
Schmidt became engaged in an angry exchange with referee Felix Zwayer following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 64th-minute goal at the BayArena last Sunday that gave Borussia Dortmund a 1-0 victory over Leverkusen in Germany’s top flight.
Schmidt was ordered to the stands, but refused to leave the technical area, instead demanding an explanation for Zwayer’s decision and the referee reacted by stopping play and walking off the pitch with his assistants.
The match eventually restarted nine minutes later when Schmidt accepted the referee’s decision and the 48-year-old admitted he was wrong to have lost his temper.
“I accept the verdict, even if I find it very hard,” said Schmidt in a press conference.
“I did not behave well on Sunday and made a mistake. I therefore have to accept the consequences and will learn from this for the future.
“I have apologised to the team about my behaviour, as it did nothing to help them.
“I can’t help the team in the next three games, but that is the bed I have made for myself, now I must lie in it.”
However, Schmidt will be on Leverkusen’s bench for Thursday’s Europa League round of 32, second-leg clash at home to Sporting Lisbon, which Leverkusen enter with a 1-0 first leg deficit, as the ban only applies to German league games.
Leverkusen’s director of sport Rudi Voeller has also been fined 10,000 euros after describing the referee’s decision to send Schmidt to the stands as ‘completely unnecessary’ during a post-match rant on Sunday.
It was the first time a Bundesliga game was stopped after a coach refused to follow a referee’s instructions.
Rainer Koch, the interim president of the DFB and a lawyer, said the punishments handed to both Schmidt and Voeller were harsh, but fair.
“Yes, the punishments are hard, but the incident was exceptional,” Koch told Sky Sports News.
“I think the fact the participants later regretted their actions was taken into consideration.
“I hope it remains a one-off, which will be unique in Bundesliga history.”
The DFB has specified that Schmidt must have no contact with his players, directly or indirectly, from half an hour before each game until 30 minutes after the final whistle.
As well as the sidelines, he is banned from the team dressing room, the area around it and the players’ tunnel.