Bundesliga appoints Bibiana Steinhaus as first female referee
Bibiana Steinhaus will become the first female to referee in the Bundesliga.
The 38-year-old police officer has been named as one of four new referees in Germany’s top flight for 2017-18.
Steinhaus has refereed second-tier games for six years.
“For us all, it’s a dream come true. I’m very much looking forward to the task that awaits me,” said Steinhaus, who will referee the Women’s Champions League final between Lyon and Paris St-Germain in Cardiff on 1 June.
“For every referee, whether a man or a woman, it is always a big goal to be able to whistle in the Bundesliga,” she told DFB.de, the German football association’s website.
“I am aware that I will be the first female referee in the Bundesliga and will be closely watched by the media and the public. I am used to this pressure and am convinced I will find my feet quickly.
“I have worked very hard for this in the last few years and suffered a few setbacks.”
When fourth official at a Bayern Munich match in October 2014, then Bayern coach Pep Guardiola put his arm around her shoulders as he argued about a refereeing decision. She brushed his arm off but the Spaniard was subsequently criticised in the media.
Fortuna Dusseldorf midfielder Kerem Demirbay was banned for five games in 2015 for saying “women have no place in men’s football” after Steinhaus sent him off for a second bookable offence.
He later apologised but was ordered by his club to referee a girls’ football match as punishment.
The German Football Association (DFB) hopes the announcement will encourage more females to become referees.
DFB president Reinhard Grindel said: “Hopefully the first female referee in the Bundesliga is an incentive for many young girls in this country to try to emulate her.”