Bundesliga appoint Bibiana Steinhaus as first female referee22 May 2017


Steinhaus has officiated 80 Bundesliga 2 matches since 2011, as well as refereeing the final of the women’s London Olympic Games tournament between Japan and the United States.

“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,” Steinhaus said.

“I am used to this pressure and am convinced I will find my feet quickly in the Bundesliga,” she added.

The appointment will also make of Steinhaus the first female referee across Europe’s five biggest leagues.

“My goal is for female referees in professional soccer to become commonplace. I hope that this news will have a positive impact on other female referees, or any woman who wants to become one.”

Steinhaus has faced scrutiny already in German football. 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.