After months of criticism, Belgian Football Association appoints new referee chief

Belgian referees have been in the eye of the storm recently following a series of controversial decisions. The Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA) is hoping to "restore calm" by appointing Peter Willems as the new director of professional refereeing.

Controversial decisions by the Belgian refereeing department have dominated football discussions in recent weeks and months. In January, a disciplinary committee ruled that the Anderlecht-Genk match (2-1) would have to be replayed after a referee failed to award Genk a penalty.

This has spurred other teams to seek their victories off the pitch. In January, for example, RWDM lodged an appeal to have their defeat to KV Mechelen (3-1) overturned and the match replayed because they were not awarded a penalty. In its appeal, the club cited Genk's legal victory as a precedent.

"Our referees are in the eye of the storm, while they prefer to do their job with discretion"

This is not a good look for Belgian football, which is why the RBFA has stepped in and appointed a new head of professional refereeing. "Our referees are in the eye of the storm, while they prefer to do their job with discretion," said KBVB CEO Piet Vandendriessche on Wednesday. "We want to help them do that."

Peter Willems, former CEO of Oud-Heverlee Leuven, will take over from German Herbert Fandel. In a statement, Fandel said he was stepping down to "take responsibility for the current situation".

"I hope this will take some of the pressure off our referees, who will be faced with difficult tasks in the coming weeks and months," Fandel said.


Referee Nathan Verboomen, during a soccer match between RSC Anderlecht and KRC Genk. © BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ

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