Felix Brych (Germany)

by Rafae Alam

Dr. Felix Brych is a German football referee based in Munich. And yes, he does hold the title of “doctor.” Specifically, he earned his doctorate in law, writing his dissertation on sports.1 Brych began his refereeing career in the Bundesliga in 2004, earning his FIFA badge only three years later. Having experience at the UEFA Cup and the Champions League, Brych is no stranger to serious football matches.2

He’s fairly well acquainted with controversy as well.

Over his career, Brych has made quite a few rather harsh calls. During a match between Manchester United and Otelul Galati in October 2011, he gave a straight red card to United defender Nemanja Vidic after he made a strong challenge with a high foot. Although the red card did stand, many United supporters, including manager Sir Alex Ferguson and midfielder Michael Carrick, criticized the red card for being too harsh.3

Perhaps more controversial was his sending off of Atletico Madrid star Arda Turan in an April 2015 match against Real Madrid. With the Turkish midfielder already on a yellow card, Brych sent him off for a tackle on Sergio Ramos in which he judged that Turan’s foot had been too high on the Spaniard. However, replays showed that he had barely touched Ramos, whose acting after the contact made it seem like he had taken a bullet to his foot.4 Again, the second yellow card was legitimate, but many still felt as though it was unnecessary.

Check out a video of the incident below and decide for yourself.


Brych also left many Atletico Madrid fans fuming after he officiated a Champions League match on April 2016 in which their team faced off against Barcelona. Brych issued two yellow cards to Torres in a matter of minutes and let Suarez stay on the pitch after he kicked Atletico player Juanfran and lashed out at defender Filipe Luis. Additionally, Brych called 19 fouls against Barcelona and 16 against Atletico, but issued eight yellow cards to Atletico compared to only three for Barcelona. Both Barcelona’s Dani Alves and Neymar, who committed three and four fouls, respectively, were never punished. The match led many to belief that Brych was biased towards Barcelona, insinuating that referees protect them because it is in UEFA’s best interest for them to stay in the tournament. Although the claims were unfounded, many Atletico supporters still felt cheated by the referee.5

All things considered, Brych has had a formidable career, but many players have come to dislike him. Some potential Euro 2016 players that have explicitly made negative comments against him include Fernando Torres and Juanfran.6 If you’re looking to see a few players get disciplined somewhat harshly or sent off at the Euros, you might want to check out some of the matches Brych will officiate.


  1. Longman, J. (2012, April 17). Alone, Armed With Only a Whistle. Retrieved April 30, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/sports/soccer/champions-league-semifinal-referee-faces-scrutiny.html
  2. Rodgers, A. (n.d.). Dr. Felix Brych. Retrieved April 30, 2016, from http://worldreferee.com/referee/felix_brych
  3. Telegraph staff and agencies. (2011, October 19). Manchester United manager says Nemanja Vidic red card was ‘harsh’ but understands why captain was dismissed. Retrieved April 30, 2016, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-united/8835568/Manchester-United-manager-says-Nemanja-Vidic-red-card-was-harsh-but-understands-why-captain-was-dismissed.html
  4. Sheen, T. (15, April 22). Arda Turan red card: The internet reacts after Atletico Madrid star was sent off against Real Madrid. Retrieved April 30, 2016, from http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/european/arda-turan-red-card-the-internet-reacts-after-atletico-madrid-star-was-sent-off-against-real-madrid-10196888.html
  5. Heath-Smith, M. (2016, April 06). Atletico Madrid fume at Uefa ‘conspiracy’ after referee sends off Fernando Torres in Champions League loss to Barcelona. Retrieved April 30, 2016, from http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/7054328/Atletico-Madrid-fume-at-Uefa-conspiracy-after-referee-sends-off-Fernando-Torres-in-Champions-League-loss-to-Barcelona.html
  6. 10 of the most controversial comments about Felix Brych. (n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2016, from http://www.sport-english.com/en/news/barca/the-most-controversial-comments-about-felix-brych-5033887

How to cite this page: “Felix Brych (Germany)”, Written by Rafae Alam (2016). European Cup 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/tournament-guides/european-cup-2016-guide/euro-2016-referees/felix-brych-germany/ (accessed on (date)).