Tue, Sep 12, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Referee Bibiana Steinhaus makes history in Germany


Referee Bibiana Steinhaus, left, talks to Werder Bremen’s Maximilian Eggestein in the Bundesliga match between Hertha BSC and Werder Bremen in Berlin on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

Germany’s Bibiana Steinhaus on Sunday made history as the first female referee to officiate a match in a top European league by taking charge of Hertha BSC’s 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen.

Steinhaus became the first woman to referee a top-tier match in the German, English, French, Italian or Spanish leagues when she oversaw the Bundesliga encounter in Berlin.

The 38-year-old had built up a wealth of experience by refereeing 80 second-tier games since 2007 and had been the fourth official on numerous occasions in the Bundesliga, but it was her refereeing debut in the top flight.

“I’ll be delighted when normality returns as of tomorrow,” said Steinhaus after a busy week amid intense media attention.

“The crucial thing for us is not to be the focus after 90 minutes, which is what we achieved and we’re happy” she added, speaking on behalf of her refereeing team.

To mark the occasion, Hertha offered half-price tickets to female supporters who wanted to see Steinhaus in charge.

She kept tight control at the Olympiastadion and fulfilled her pre-match wish that her performance would not attract headlines for the wrong reasons.

Stainhaus got a thumbs up from the president of the German Football Association (DFB).

“She was under unbelievable pressure, yet was poised for all the important situations and made the right decisions, that was a confident display,” DFB president Reinhard Grindel said. “You could see that she has unbelievable experience.”

Steinhaus smartly allowed play to continue when Australia’s Mathew Leckie scored for the hosts after 38 minutes despite a foul on Hertha’s Vladimir Darida in the buildup.

“I can only praise Bibiana Steinhaus, especially for the scenes around the first goal, when she let the advantage play on,” Hertha coach Pal Dardai said. “That speaks for her experience. Much respect — she let a lot of things go, even though it was a physically intensive game. I am very happy.”

Bremen earned a point, their first of the campaign, when captain Thomas Delaney smashed the ball home on 59 minutes.

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