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    “Alarming” referee situation worries Bundesliga


    Should men whistle again?
    The Bundesliga is worried about the “alarming” situation of female referees

    The clubs in the women's Bundesliga complain about the lack of professionalism among female referees – and are considering a radical step. But those responsible have been trying to change the circumstances for years. In the end it depends on the association.

    Osman Cankaya has had enough. The situation in the women's Bundesliga is “alarming” and “no longer acceptable,” complained the sporting director of promoted team 1. FC Nürnberg and accused the German Football Association (DFB) of “qualitative deficiencies and structural deficits” in the area of ​​female referees. The angry attack on equality by someone who has died yesterday? Not at all!

    In his cry for help, Cankaya openly named a problem that has been troubling those responsible at all clubs for months. His proposed solution is as radical as it can win a majority: men should get back on the whistle! Not exclusively, but in addition to the women's teams, who repeatedly made serious mistakes. The topic is likely to come up at the managers' regular half-yearly meeting next week.

    “Why are we not able to open the gates for male referees?” asked department head Bianca Rech from champions Bayern Munich in “Kicker” at the beginning of the year. Ralf Kellermann, sporting director at cup winners VfL Wolfsburg, assisted: “We are the only top nation in Europe that affords not to fill the referee teams with men.”

    “Parallel to a 40-hour week”

    This has nothing to do with misogyny; all those involved are only concerned with professionalization. This has increased rapidly among female players since the big men's clubs across Europe started investing in their women's teams. In contrast, the situation among female referees is often still amateurish.

    “Quality has to be the deciding factor,” said national coach Horst Hrubesch. “It doesn't matter whether I put a man or a woman in.” As in any other field of work. But quality suffers when female referees officiate games “in parallel to a 40-hour week,” as Christine Baitinger admitted on ARD in the fall. Baitinger was once a world-class referee herself and is now the DFB's sports director for female referees.

    Given these circumstances, it is “not surprising,” said VfL boss Kellermann, that the gap between players and referees “has grown larger.” Especially since the best female referees are often used by men and there is no VAR for women for cost reasons.

    The “tanker” DFB needs time

    What frustrates the clubs is the slowness of the “tanker” DFB. “We would like the DFB to prioritize this issue more,” said Rech. It’s not about letting a man whistle in the league’s top game, reassured Kellermann. Rather, the teams could be filled up “until I have enough quality across the board to be enough.” Other leagues took this approach, only Germany had the “luxury” of doing without the professionals. “I made the suggestion to the DFB years ago,” said Kellermann, “and it was strictly rejected by those responsible at the time.”

    When opening up to men, “we must not neglect the promotion of young female referees,” warned Viola Odebrecht (RB Leipzig) when asked. Cankaya from Nuremberg therefore offered the DFB support “in the development of a sustainable and optimized training concept.” However, this could “at best only provide medium-term relief” for the “league-wide problem” that is affecting its attractiveness.

    A quick solution does not seem to be in sight. Referee chief Baitinger wants to increase the financial “freedom” of her team in the future. But overall “we are very well positioned,” she stressed: “We have top referees, including young ones.”

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