A 38-year-old German policewoman will next season become the
first female referee in Europe's top leagues after she was
promoted to officiate in the Bundesliga on Friday.
Bibiana Steinhaus has been a fourth official for Bundesliga
matches and although a German FA (DFB) referee since 1999, knows
the spotlight will be on her when she takes charge of a
"For every referee, whether a man or a woman, it is always a big
goal to be able to blow a whistle in the Bundesliga," she told
Steinhaus, girlfriend of Englishman Howard Webb, 45, who refereed
the 2014 World Cup final, said: "I have worked very hard for this
in the last few years and suffered a few set-backs.
"Of course, 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," she added, having refereed 80 second-division games
"I am used to this pressure and am convinced I will find my feet
quickly in the Bundesliga."
Steinhaus made headlines in October 2014 when then Bayern Munich
coach Pep Guardiola put his arm around her shoulders, when she
was the fourth official at a Bundesliga game, while arguing about
a refereeing decision.
Steinhaus coolly brushed Guardiola's arm off and the Spaniard was
criticised in the German media for inappropriate conduct.
And in December 2015 during a second-division game she sent off
Kerem Demirbay for a second booking.
The then-Fortuna Duesseldorf midfielder was banned for five games
for telling Steinhaus that "women have no place in men's
football" as he trudged off.
As a further punishment, his club made Demirbay, who now plays
for Hoffenheim, referee a girl's football match.
Steinhaus will referee the women's Champions League final in
Cardiff on June 1 and is one of four referees who have been
promoted to the list of Bundesliga referees for 2017/18.
She will be the first female referee in Europe's top five
DFB president Reinhard Grindel hopes Steinhaus will inspire girls
to get involved in football.
"I've been following her path for many years and am very much
looking forward to it," he said.