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    Women’s Bundesliga club calls for male referees


    “No longer acceptable”
    Women’s Bundesliga club calls for male referees

    Female referees always officiate in the women's Bundesliga. But in top women's football, discontent with female referees is growing. The first club sees a major problem – and suggests rethinking the system.

    1. FC Nuremberg has complained massively about the performance of female referees in the women's Bundesliga. “We are at a point where the current situation in the refereeing sector (…) is no longer acceptable and where we must and want to consciously point out qualitative deficiencies and structural deficits at the DFB,” said Osman Cankaya, the club's women's sporting director. In a press release from the newly promoted team, he stressed: “We are talking about a cross-club, league-wide problem here.”

    All clubs are affected, regardless of whether they are fighting for relegation or the championship, say the Nuremberg team. “We find both the quality and the quantity of the errors alarming, and in our opinion, not only the competition but also the attractiveness of the Bundesliga is suffering massively,” they continue. The most recent trigger for criticism was a controversial handball penalty in Nuremberg's 4-0 defeat to Werder Bremen last weekend.

    Only a short-term solution

    There have been a number of complaints about the performance of female referees this season. According to officials at FC Bayern and VfL Wolfsburg, one problem is that referees from the men's professional leagues are not allowed to referee in the women's top division because the German Football Association has separate squads. The DFB also has concerns about the lack of young women's players.

    “We only see a short-term, immediate solution in abolishing the previous policy of having matches in the 1st and 2nd Women's Bundesliga refereed exclusively by female referees and placing the focus on quality and competence across all genders (…) when scheduling matches,” suggests 1. FC Nuremberg.

    Christine Beitinger, DFB's sports director for female referees, recently described breaking down this caste system as a “more complex issue” and said: “The prerequisite must be that male referees are part of the women's Bundesliga. Then we are fundamentally open to it. Referees should therefore be part of the women's Bundesliga squad.”

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