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Rudolf Kreitlein (14 November 1919, in Fürth – 31 July 2012, in Stuttgart) was a German international football referee, active in the 1960s.

Rudolf Kreitlein
Full name Rudolf Kreitlein
Born (1919-11-14)14 November 1919
Fürth, Germany
Died 31 July 2012(2012-07-31) (aged 92)
Stuttgart, Germany
Other occupation Tailor
Years League Role
1963–1969 Bundesliga Referee
Years League Role
1966 UEFA Referee


England v Argentina, 1966 World CupEdit

Kreitlein is perhaps best known for having refereed the 1966 World Cup quarter-final match between England and Argentina in which he dismissed Antonio Rattín from the field of play in the 35th minute of the game for a second caution - dissent.[1] Rattín initially refused to leave the pitch, arguing furiously with Kreitlein (even though neither man understood each other's native language) and the game was held up for several minutes until Rattín reluctantly departed. It was also during that game that Jack Charlton was cautioned, only to discover the fact the next day from the newspaper report. As a result of this incident, Kreitlein and Ken Aston developed the idea of yellow cards and red cards to aid on-field communication in football. Kreitlein, who had never seen the match, requested a copy of the game from the Football Association in 2006.[2] Kreitlein retired from international competition in 1967.[3]


Kreitlein began his refereeing career at the age of 17, and soon moved to the US to train referees. He subsequently returned to Germany, where he tried to become a professional footballer. However, a serious knee injury ended this aspiration, and he concentrated on refereeing instead.[4] Kreitlein's rise to prominence within the European game was evident prior to the World Cup. He had been appointed as one of the German representatives for the 1963 UEFA Youth Championship in England, refereeing the final between England and Northern Ireland at Wembley (his assistants were the Hungarian orchestral conductor and referee István Zsolt and the Belgian Mark Raemaekers).

Kreitlein had been a Bundesliga referee from its inauguration in 1963 but had only refereed 36 matches at national level before being appointed referee (in May 1966) to the European Cup Final, where he took charge of the game between Real Madrid and Partizan Belgrade in Brussels.

Personal lifeEdit

Kreitlein worked as a tailor. He was married, but had no children. His wife died in 2008.[4]


  1. ^ Kuper, Simon (25 February 2002). "The conflict lives on". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  2. ^ "Chips Denied". The FA. Archived from the original on 29 October 2007.
  3. ^ "DFB trauert um FIFA-Schiedsrichter Rudolf Kreitlein". German Football Association (in German). 1 August 2012. Archived from the original on 15 November 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012.
  4. ^ a b Frey, Jürgen (3 August 2012). "Rudolf Kreitlein - Ein Leben für die Fairness" (in German). Retrieved 23 April 2018.

External linksEdit