Football: Bundesliga phantom goal decision expected end of October

BERLIN (AFP) - A decision on Bayer Leverkusen's 'phantom' goal is not expected to be made before the end of October, according to the German Football League's (DFL) managing director.

Third-placed Leverkusen enjoyed a 2-1 victory at Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Friday, but replays showed Stefan Kiessling headed the winning goal via a hole in the side netting.

Hoffenheim have demanded a replay and the German Football Federation (DFB) will hold a preliminary meeting on Monday to review the goal and assess referee Felix Brych's match report.

A later hearing is then expected to be scheduled which will decide whether a replay will be ordered or the result stands.

Andreas Rettig, managing director of the DFL has said scheduled elections within the DFB on Thursday and Friday could delay a date for that hearing until the end of October.

The DFB have already made contact with world football's governing body FIFA for a clarification of the legal parameters of the unusual situation.

"The ball is now in Fifa's court. We called them on Saturday to make sure we don't do anything wrong," DFB vice-president Rainer Koch told broadcaster Sport1 on Sunday.

"We can totally understand that such a 'phantom' goal is perceived as unjust," added Mr Koch, who is responsible for the DFB's legal and constitutional issues.

"The knee-jerk calls for the game to be replayed are understandable, but we know from the past that FIFA tend to protect the decisions of the officials." There is a precedent for this unusual situation.

A replay was ordered when Bayern Munich's Thomas Helmer was credited with a goal which didn't go in the net in a 2-1 win over Nuremberg in April 1994.

Nuremburg lodged a complaint and the DFB ordered a replay which Bayern won 5-0 on their way to clinching the title, but FIFA later criticised the DFB for allowing a replay.