Groundbreaking female referee Bibiana Steinhaus to retire

Bibiana Steinhaus will oversee Wednesday’s German Super Cup men’s game between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund as her last fixture.

File photo of referee Bibiana Steinhaus during a Bundesliga game.   -  AP Photo

Bibiana Steinhaus, one of the most decorated referees in women’s football and the first female referee in the German men’s Bundesliga, announced her retirement on Wednesday.

Steinhaus will oversee Wednesday’s German Super Cup men’s game between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund as her last fixture. The 41-year-old police officer said her decision followed a period of reflection and that she would give more detail about her motivations later.

"Like many people in the time of the coronavirus situation, I have been reflecting on some things and reassessing them,” she said in a statement on the German football federation website. “For this evening I want the focus to be solely on the game. I will explain the reasons for my departure in more detail again in due course.”

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Before her debut in the men’s top division in 2017, Steinhaus had taken charge of the biggest games in women’s football and in the second tier of German men’s competition.

She oversaw the 2011 women’s World Cup final as Japan beat the United States on penalties, and the 2012 Olympic women’s gold medal game, in which the U.S. defeated Japan 2-1. In 2017, she refereed Lyon’s win against Paris Saint-Germain in the women’s Champions League final.

The president of the German football federation, Fritz Keller, paid tribute to Steinhaus’ accomplishments.

"I very much regret the early retirement of Bibiana Steinhaus,” he said in a statement. “In the future German football must not only do without an excellent referee, but it also loses an exceptional personality and a pioneer in a male domain.”

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