Factual decision

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The factual decision is a rule part of many sports. In order to be able to apply the rules and regulations of sports in practice, it is necessary that decisions by referees take effect immediately without a competitor being able to object to them or a decision being subsequently revoked in any form. It is irrelevant whether the referee applied the rules correctly. The term does not indicate an irrefutable fact that is not disputed by anyone, but rather that someone entitled to do so regards something as a fact that does not necessarily have to have happened that way.


This regulation serves to maintain a continuous game operation . A losing team could otherwise use any disputed decision of the referee to annul the game result by filing a complaint with a sports court.

Of course, the sports associations are interested in avoiding or correcting gross misjudgments by the referees in order not to distort competition . In football , players have already been subsequently banned because the referee did not punish their assault . It should be noted, however, that no referee decisions are corrected, only assaults that the referee escaped can be prosecuted. In very rare exceptional cases, a replay can be scheduled due to a game-decisive, obviously wrong decision, for example with Thomas Helmer's Phantom goal in 1994, when the referee decided to score, although the ball actually went next to the goal. However, this remained an exception, later in similar situations the disadvantaged team was not promised a replay and the factual decision of the referee was recognized.


In general, it should be noted that a factual decision by a referee is a subjective interpretation in which the referee decides whether the rules of the game have been violated or not. This decision cannot be challenged by the clubs. A technical error by the referee, however, if he does not act according to the rules of the game, is contestable. It usually entails a replay.

The current development in refereeing shows a tendency to check factual decisions during the game by technical methods. For this purpose, the hawk-eye , goal-line technology and video evidence are used depending on the sport. The review of the decision is usually not made by the referee, but z. B. as in American football by a so-called " Coach's Challenge " requested by the coach .

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