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Bibiana Steinhaus set to become first female referee in the Bundesliga

This is a welcome change to the previously all-male refereeing crew

Japan v USA: FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 Final Photo by Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images

The Bundesliga takes pride in being one of the most progressive soccer leagues in Europe. Today, they’ve taken another positive step towards creating the best league they possibly can.

The German FA announced that, next year, experienced referee Bibiana Steinhaus will be the first female to referee in the Bundesliga.

Steinhaus, 38, has refereed in the 2. Bundesliga for six years, and in 1999 she became the first woman to referee professionally in all of Germany.

She is very highly thought of throughout Europe, and has already officiated numerous important matches in women’s football. In a few weeks time she will take charge of the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final in Cardiff.

Steinhaus’ second job is as a police officer. She was inspired to be a referee by her father, who also a professional referee.

This move is a refreshing one, as there is always a need in sport (and soccer) for better gender equality. Women are every bit as capable of refereeing as men are, and this is probably something that should’ve happened a long time ago.

Other league’s around the world should follow the Bundesliga’s lead. There are plenty of experienced female referees in the game who deserve a chance like Steinhaus is getting here.

Surely Steinhaus will not be this well received by everyone in her first season on the job. But she deserves the support of the Bundesliga’s fans and players. Hopefully her success will inspire others to follow in her footsteps.