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Hellmut Krug

Referee Expert for the German Football League

Hellmut Krug took a degree in teacher-training (Sport and Greek) at the Ruhr-Universität between 1977 and 1984. As a referee for the German Football League he supervised 240 German Football League games.

As a FIFA referee he once participated in the European Championships and once in the World Championships. As a FIFA referee he supervised a World Cup game and a Champions League finale. Since 2007, Hellmut Krug has been Referee Expert for the German Football League.

I still have all the materials and even the straps for the horizontal bar!

RUB Alumni: Why did you choose to study in Bochum?

Krug: Two main reasons. Firstly it was nearby. For financial reasons I didn’t want to study somewhere where I had to pay for a second apartment. Secondly, at the RUB offered the possibility to study sport and Greek.

RUB Alumni:: Where were you born?

Krug: In Gelsenkirchen.

RUB Alumni: Is there something that you particularly remember about your student days? A nice story that you like to remember?

Krug: There is one. I took part in a skiing course in Les Arcs. Because of our physical condition we were not really able to do a lot. Rather we were actually prepared for a fun and drink. The nights were really wild. One relatively drunken night a fellow student turned up with a skateboard and some of us started to go up and down the corridor with it. The corridor had quite a slope and one of us complete underestimated the speed. Every couple of metres there were heavy swing doors. This particular character went full speed into the door and “opened” it with his head. There was a terrible bang and we all found it very funny. The poor chap returned a few seconds later holding his head – which we first took to be a joke. We then saw that he was truly injured with a huge lacerated wound on his head from “opening” the door. By then it was three in the morning and the question was what to do. Should we wake our sports doctor, Prof. de Marées, who was staying in the same hotel? None of us really liked the idea so I took our injured friend into my bathroom and tried for more than half an hour to stem the bleeding with toilet paper – I finally succeed. The bathroom looked like a abattoir. The evening was of course over and the visit to the disco was cancelled. An unforgettable story.

RUB Alumni: Can you describe your student days in a few words?

Krug: Varied, communicative, intensive, successful!

RUB Alumni: You studied sport and Greek. At the time the sports faculty was located in the Stiepeler Strasse. Did you have any problems finding your way around the campus?

Krug: Becoming familiar with the sports faculty was relatively simple. But how to find one’s way around the buildings on campus was something that I never really got to grips with. I got to know the classical philology area quite quickly, but not the rest and if I’m honest I doubt if I would understand the flooring system it even today.

RUB Alumni: As a sports student you didn’t really have much to do on campus …

Krug: I was actually quite happy about that. Trying to find out where lectures were was an effort. But I knew where most of the most important places were after about a semester.

RUB Alumni: Do you have anything left over from your student days?

Krug: While recently clearing out I found a couple of Reckriemen, a relic from the gymnastics course. There is still some stuff in my cellar. I simply can’t bring myself to throw the stuff away: most are files from my study and it is very unlikely that I will ever look at it again. My material on sports medicine is shelved in my office at home because I still have to sometimes refresh my memory about some things. I used to know the textbook by heart. It was well written and comprehensive and provided a lot of knowledge in a small amount of space.

RUB Alumni: If you were rector of the Ruhr-Universität what would you change or improve particularly given that it should not cost much.

Krug: That is difficult to answer. Spontaneously I have no idea. Finding parking space was always a problem. I can’t imagine that it’s any better today.

RUB Alumni: It’ll probably get worse as time goes by …

Krug: I believe so too. It’s certainly a negative memory. Maybe one should think about a shuttle service. But that’s a cost question! Another problem that I remember was the allocation of places in sports courses. Because of the very high demand the places were allocated by lottery. This problem needed to be solved a long time ago. For instance, I always wanted to take the course in diving but would always find out that there was another 50 people who wanted to do it as well. Rowing was another activity I wanted to do but that didn’t work out either. Those responsible were incapable at the time of solving the problem of excess demand.

RUB Alumni: What do you miss the most from your student days?

Krug: The best thing about being a student is that despite all the deadlines you can organize your time yourself. In addition, from one lecture or seminar to another you were always with people who shared the same interests. That was always varied and refreshing.

RUB Alumni: In particular for practical sports courses …

Krug: … particularly for sports courses. I was recently talking with someone about the fact that during my study there were times that we would be doing sport all day. It would start with gymnastics in the morning, followed by tennis, and then we would use our spare time in the afternoon or evening to play tennis or football. What a life! We were able to turn our profession into a hobby or vice versa.

RUB Alumni: Is there anything that connects you to Bochum or the university today?

Krug: Except for chance encounters, not really. It usually happens when one meets students and they happen to come from the Ruhr-Universität. I usually take the opportunity to find out what’s going on. “Who is still there from the old lecturers?” I recently bumped into a former lecturer, Prof. Mester, in Cologne; and I recently had a book in my hand by Weimann, who taught me gymnastics.

RUB Alumni: Is there any connection between your degree and your current professional activity?

Krug: The connection is clearly between my study of sports and football. From the academic side I found sports medicine the most interesting and I am frequently confronted with medical problems as part of my work and I have to intensively deal with these matters as part of helping referees in their training; its part of injury prevention. Two years ago during the heat wave I helped prepare referees about how to deal with temperature regulation. For these sorts of situations my study was essential as well as more up-to-date knowledge.

RUB Alumni: So you can use the knowledge from your study for sports medicine and coaching?

Krug: Yes, exactly! But one has to still remember that many things have changed.

RUB Alumni: Would you still choose to study what you did?

Krug: I wouldn’t choose Greek again because in the end it didn’t bring anything. Sports I would definitely do again, although I must say that its still very difficult to get a job as a sports teacher. Today I would probably try and fulfill my dream and study medicine. Unfortunately due to my poor school record I was unable to do so. I could not switch later because I had decided to focus on football.

RUB Alumni: But as part of your sports study you specialized in sports medicine.

Krug: Of course! It wasn’t an effort form me. It was a pure delight. I even got the highest grade for my sports medicine exam. From the 100 questions I had only one or two wrong. I was not particularly studious; I just found it extremely interesting.

RUB Alumni: Do you have any tips for students in Bochum?

Krug: Despite all the freedom you have during your studies, completing a degree doesn’t just fall into your lap. Enjoy your time as a student but try to complete it as fast as possible. It’s becoming more and more difficult to get a foot on the career ladder. To have taken to much time to reach your aim could end up being annoying.

RUB Alumni: Were you a VFL or Schalke 04 fan during your student days?

Krug: Neither really. In the first years I was a Schalke fan, but that was held within limits because the more I became involved in football the more I became indifferent to the teams. I must say that I always had a soft spot for Bochum. I was always impressed how this club remained down to earth. It’s a shame that they will be relegated this season.

RUB Alumni: There is always possibilities to rise up again!

Krug: Of course. But those who are responsible at VFL have to be aware that they can never reach the very top. The problem is that preparations always lead to the same result: once a player reaches the required standard he will end up moving to another club. This is without doubt very frustrating for those who are responsible because they can never experience the results of their labour.

RUB Alumni: Thank you for your time.

Krug: A pleasure!

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