Schalke vs. Maribor – EU regulations put ref in a pickle

Tonight’s match in the Champions League is a must win for the Royal Blues, as their opponents NK Maribor have been deemed the pushovers of Schalke’s Champions League group. However, ever since the German Technical Certification and Inspection Association(TÜV) released its report about the free kick spray used by referees all around Europe this game has presented a challenge for the Uefa and the ref officiating the match.

The TÜV concluded in a report that the free kick spray contained traces of parabens, a substance that could affect its users hormonally, and the can the spray comes in isn’t marked properly(it lacked the symbol signalising that it contains flammable materials). After having analysed the free kick spray the association concluded that the sprays consistency and packing was against both German law and EU regulations and it went as far as stating that the spray is a health hazard.

Tonight sees the first Champions League on German soil after the report was released. Referee Carlos Velasco Carballo has to use the free kick spray if he wants to follow Uefa’s guidelines, however, the regulatory agency of the municipality Gelsenkirchen is going to watch closely. Their spokesperson, Martin Schulmann, told Bild:

If the city of Gelsenkirchen receives conclusive proof that the free kick spray was in use during the match, the regulatory agency is going to proceed in seeking punishment for the breaking of an administrative law.

In case referee Carballo is found guilty of such conduct he would face a fine which usually would be between 5 and 55 Euros according to Schulmann. However, the TÜV’s report means that the referees aren’t allowed to use the free kick spray anywhere else in the EU as well. Lars Ellensohn, a spokesperson for the Uefa, told Spiegel:

We are taking a look into the matter. I think we’ll receive feedback(on the free kick spray) today.

How the Uefa is going to approach the matter and if the referee is leaving the Veltin Arena having to pay a fine stands to be seen.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.

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