Markus Merk, born March 15, 1962 in Kaiserslautern, Germany, has been a referee for over 21 years. He was born very near the stadium at Kaiserslauern, the Fritz-Walter Stadium, which he still describes as 'a very emotional place'. He was 12 when he first started going to games and was immediately 'impressed by the way the referees and their assistants worked'.
Merk started refereeing at the age of 15 and joined the DFB (the National German Soccer Federation) in 1984. In 1985 he made his first appearance in the second division of the Bundesliga, Germany's top soccer league. In 1988 he moved up to the first division. He's been a FIFA-Referee since 1992 and as such officiated over 60 matches to date (2006). His palmares include the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, the final of the 1997 Italy tournament for cup winners (Paris St. Germain - FC Barcelona), the opening game and one of the semi-finals (Holland - Italy) of Euro 2000, the Korea - Japan match in the 2002 World Championships, the Champions League final 2003 in Manchester (Juventus - AC Milan) and the Euro 2004 final at Lisbon's Estadio da Luz (Portugal - Greece).
Federal cross of merit
Since early 2004 Merk is also the man with most matches to his name in the Bundesliga. At last count he's led over 264 matches. He was chosen Best National Referee for the 1994/95, 1995/96, 1999,200 and 2002/03 seasons and was voted World Referee in 2004. Merk was awarded the 'Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany' in 2005 for his sporting and social dedication. Special mention was made of his work for the "Indienhilfe Kaiserslautern"-association (Help for India, Kaiserslautern), a fund that supports agricultural projects, free medical treatment, schools and orphanages in India.
World Cup 2006
Although Merk appeared in the 2006 World Cup finals, he didn't make it to the quarter-finals, quiet exceptional for a famous and experienced ref like Merk. Maybe it was because he wasn't at his best, but probably it was because he is a German and a European and all the teams left were European.
His last CL match was PSV-Inter (0-1), december 2007. Not the most exciting match of his career, he showed no yellow cards, but one red card to PSV sider Mendez.