The first female Bundesliga referee in league history, Bibiana Steinhaus has retired.
Her career on the football pitch ended after officiating the DFL Supercup between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
Steinhaus became the first female referee to officiate a German Supercup game when treble winners Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund 3-2 on Wednesday.
In 1999, she became a certified referee in Germany, while her certification as a FIFA referee for international competitions was in 2005.
At a time she informed a podcast from German magazine Stern how much pressure she felt before her first Bundesliga game between Hertha Berlin and Werder Bremen in 2017.
“I was lying with our physiotherapist in the catacombs and breathing under guidance,” Steinhaus said. When she walked on the pitch, she knew: “Nothing bad can happen. It will be okay. And that was it.”
In fact, her professional experience as a police officer helped her on the pitch.
“We don’t make the rules, but we have to enforce and ensure people behave accordingly,” she explained to DW. “Sometimes it takes a while to earn people’s respect. In the end, it’s the police or the referee who makes the decision. Eventually people understand who is making the calls.”
Steinhaus who has become very popular as a referee, has been named Germany’s “referee of the year” six times and refereed during the Women’s World Cup and Women’s Euros three times each. Once, Franck Ribery pulled her shoelace during a freekick. That would not happen again, Steinhaus said later. She wound up being right.
The DFB announced on Wednesday that the German Supercup would be her last game. The decision was made for personal reasons. She’s been in a relationship with the English former FIFA referee Howard Webb, who lives in New York. It would be typical for her not to make a big deal about her retirement, either.