June 29, 2017

Bibiana Steinhaus to become first female referee in the Bundesliga

The Bundesliga is going to feature four new referees from next season. One of them is Bibiana Steinhaus, who is going to be the first woman to officiate matches in Germany’s top flight. When asked about the prospect of her new role the 38-year-old was overjoyed, telling dfb.de:

“This has always been a dream. That this dream is going to become true gives me an enormous sense of joy.”

So far in her career Steinhaus has been featured in 80 Bundesliga 2 matches and as a fourth official in several Bundesliga matches. In the world of women’s football the police woman has had the pleasure of officiating matches during the 2011 and 2015 World Cup and during the 2012 Olympics. Additionally Steinhaus is also going to be the ref for this season’s Women’s Champions League final.

Scenes from the sidelines and the lower divisions

Despite the fact that Steinhaus hasn’t been featured in the Bundesliga before, she’s actually managed to make several headlines in the German and international press. Most notably back in 2014 when Bayern coach Pep Guardiola got upset towards the end of the goalless draw between his side and Borussia Mönchengladbach. Steinhaus, who was the fourth official during the match, had to send away Guardiola twice when he started complaining about referee Zwayer’s officiating. Guardiola started to put his arm around Steinhaus, trying to shake her hand on one occasion.

Whilst the Catalonian coach seemingly was blowing a fuse, the police woman from Hannover kept her cool all the way and sent the Bayern coach cooly on his way twice. Other referees may have sent a coach who was this physical to the stands.

Another episode that made international headlines came back in 2010 when Steinhaus officiated the Bundesliga 2 match between Hertha and Alemannia Aachen. It wasn’t the daft 0-0 draw that made the headlines, but it was Hertha’s Peter Niemeyer’s inadvertently missing Steinhaus’s back when he was trying to give her pat on the back, hitting the referee’s breast instead. The always calm and collected Steinhaus simply gave Niemeyer a wink of the eye and left it at that, making her the darling of the international football press for one day.

The fact that Steinhaus doesn’t seemed to be fazed by anything comes in handy. The 38-year-old is aware of the pressures of her new gig, telling Bild:

“Of course, I’m aware of the fact that the public and the media is going to take a special interest in my performances as the first female referee. I’m used to that pressure and therefore I’m convinced that I’ll find my footing rather quickly in the Bundesliga as well.”

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 30-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball and on the @AufstiegPod.

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