Bibiana Steinhaus became the Bundesliga’s first female referee on Sunday, officiating the match between Hertha Berlin and Werder Bremen.
The 38-year-old police officer made history when she became the first woman to take charge of a Bundesliga game last Sunday. After years of refereeing games in the second division, she officiated the match between Hertha Berlin and Werder Bremen.
Speaking to FIFA after the match, Steinhaus discussed her pioneer status and the difficulties of being a woman in a male dominated environment.
When asked if she saw herself as a pioneer, she said: “My gender is completely irrelevant to my colleagues. As referees, we are all measured based on the exactly the same criteria, and naturally this includes our performance.
“One excellent development, for example, is that one in four match officials at the upcoming U-17 World Cup in India will be women – based purely on performance criteria.” She went to discuss how she turned her negative experiences into positive ones.
“Negativity is the wrong word. Every experience I have takes me forward, enables me to learn and expands my horizons as an individual, as a personality and also as a referee on the pitch – and I feel extremely fortunate to be able to do that.”
It feels like the Premier League are a long way off from appointing a female referee, in my opinion. The closest they’ve come is Sian Massey, who appears frequently in the Premier Leagues as a linesman. Amy Fearn has also officiated a Football League and FA Cup match.
Provided Steinhaus does a good job in the Bundesliga and sets a good example, there should be no reason why there can’t be a female ref in the Premier League in the near future, I feel.