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Policewomen to ref pro games in Germany
June 20th, 2007 7AM

TAGS:  international


[PHOTO] Bibiana Steinhaus, described by the German press as a pretty blond policewoman, is poised to become the first woman to referee in German men's professional soccer. The 28-year-old, whose latest day-job assignment was shielding the G-8 Summit from anti-globalization protesters in Rostock, was promoted by the German soccer federation to the Second Division after six years of refereeing the men's third division. Only two percent of Germany's 80,000 referees are female. The only other female referee in German men's pro soccer was Gertrud Gebhard, who lasted two games as a lineswoman in 1995.

"The occupations of referee and police officer are similar - it's an advantage to link them," Steinhaus said. "They are both about getting people to follow the rules."

Steinhaus expects that coaching pros will be less rigorous than patrolling at the amateur level

"I have negative experiences to report," she said. "I was never physically attacked, but was the target of verbal abuse. In the top leagues, the behavior is different. The players present themselves differently because their job is dependent on it. ... The beauty of it is, the more spectators in the stadium, the less you hear what any of them says.

"I want to be consistent and forceful with the teams and be communicative. You can be decisive, but charmingly decisive. My drive toward perfection is high - where that will lead, I don't know."

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