The German FA (DFB) announced on Friday that Bibiana Steinhaus is set to become the Bundesliga’s first ever female referee starting next season.
Steinhaus said she experienced “a complete roller coaster of emotion” upon hearing the news that she was among the four new lead referees selected to take charge of matches next season.
“It was always a dream to reach the Bundesliga, and of course it feels fantastic that this dream has come true. It acts as a confirmation of the hard work I have done to get here and an even greater incentive to keep working harder to go further,” Steinhaus said.
A 38-year-old policewoman from Hannover, Steinhaus has officiated for DFB for 18 years and worked in the 2. Bundesliga since 2007. She’s also officiated a number of high-profile women’s matches, including the 2011 Women’s World Cup final between Japan and the United States and will be the head official at the Women’s Champions League final on June 1.
Steinhaus said hopes that her promotion will have a positive impact on aspiring young women and will open doors for those that either previously weren’t considered for a similar position or they themselves didn’t see as a possibility. Though it’s an enormous honor and a terrific story, Steinhaus doesn’t want her first season in the Bundesliga to be judged solely on the basis of her being female.
When asked what she hoped to achieve, she put it plainly: “Above all else, that my performances are judged for themselves and not for my being a woman.”