A FIFA World Cup referee has taken the unusual step of apologising to Borussia Dortmund for an incorrect decision in their Bundesliga game against Wolfsburg this weekend.
Wolfgang Stark, who refereed three matches at the World Cup 2010, made the decision to send off Marcel Schmelzer for what he perceived to be a handball on the goal-line.
The German referee also awarded Wolfsburg a penalty, which they scored as Dortmund suffered a shock 3-2 defeat.
Replays later showed the ball hit Schmelzer's legs, and Stark has since admitted, to his credit, that he got the big decision wrong.
"I am sorry, but it was an error in interpretation from me," said the German referee as reported by The Metro. "We have taken a look at it again in the dressing room, together with the referee observer.
"During the game, to me it seemed a clear handball on the goal-line, so penalty and red card.
"Unfortunately, the pictures speak a different language. It shouldn't happen, but it has happened. The penalty and red card were mistakes."
Dortmund were leading 1-0 at the time, but the penalty pegged them back, and Wolfsburg eventually went on to claim a 3-2 victory.
Schmelzer was furious at the decision at the time, as he had scrambled back to miraculously clear the goal-bound shot off the line. Stark seemed to pause for a split second, but clearly felt the Germany international had handled. But fair play to the referee, it's not an easy spot, and he owned up to his mistake. Not that it will make Dortmund feel any beter.
Have a look at the incident here...
Borussia Dortmund vs Wolfsburg 2:3 HIGHLIGHTS by UCL2410