A few months ago, this highly rated referee couple was sanctioned by the European Federation for an ethics violation. As reported by THN, http://teamhandballnews.com/news.php?item.802 they were not in any way accused of biased refereeing or any improper conduct on the court. Rather, the EHF found them guilty of having failed their obligation to report that they had been approached by team officials who had wanted to ’influence’ them prior to an important game, and they had equally failed to report that they found an astoundingly large amount of money in their luggage in connection with their travel back to Germany. The EHF decided on a 5-year ban at the international level. The German Federation, which under the existing regulations strangely is not bound by the EHF ruling, decided on a 9-month ban at the national level.
However, as reported by THN a couple of months ago, http://teamhandballnews.com/news.php?item.861 resistance to the return of Lemme/Ullrich had started to be voiced among club officials in the German League. While everyone recognizes the high standards and the great services provided by Lemme/Ullrich in the past, Bundesliga clubs were apparently concerned that any disputed refereeing decisions by the couple in future games would imply a risk for an unusal degree of controversy, due to the situation that they are facing at the international level.
It now appears that this ‘skepticism’ on the part of the very teams that Lemme/Ullrich would hypothetically be refereeing in Germany, has simply made them conclude that they are better off declining any opportunities to continue their career at the national level. Instead, they have now announced their retirement from refereeing. http://www.handball-world.com/o.red.c/news.php?GID=1&auswahl=23643 They have added, however, that they nevertheless intend to follow through on their appeal of the EHF verdict, as a way of clearing their names.
I am no longer in any official position where it would be up to me to have a formal view on their decision. However, at a personal level I support their decision, as I feel that I, just like many who have admired their skills and performances in the past, would prefer to remember them as the top referees who were in the exclusive category of having been nominated for both the final at a Men’s World Championship (2005) and the Men’s Final at the Olympic Games (2008), nominations which I can guarantee you that they richly deserved. Again at a personal level, I want to thank them for their valuable contributions to world handball during many years.