Female Referee Causes Soccer Broadcast To Be Canceled


Photo Credits: Zimbio

Iranian state broadcaster (IRB) did not show a German Bundesliga soccer match between Augsburg and Bayern Munich on February 15th because a female referee, Bibiana Steinhaus, was officiating. Iran has rules which censor the showing of women in clothes that reveal large amounts of skin, such as shorts wore by soccer players or referee and according to these strict Islamic regulations the broadcast was canceled. This is just another example of discrimination against women which is ever present in Islamic countries such as Iran.  

When it comes to movies, movie scenes showing women in what is deemed revealing clothes are censored in Iran and they tried to do the same with another German Bundesliga match. In May last year Bibiana Steinhaus officiated another soccer match and Iranian television which displayed random shots of spectators every time the cameras focused on a female referee. Maybe this attempt was not successful according to their standards, so now they raised the censorship bar a little higher. Because it was a live match broadcast and it was impossible to censor the referee, who was continually visible, the national television decided to cancel the match at short notice.

As Deutsche Welle reports, Natalie Amri, Iran correspondent for German public broadcaster ARD, tweeted about the cancellation of the match. She asked (and answered) ironically: "and who is responsible? Of course, it's Bibi again." Bibiana Steinhaus, a 39-year-old referee, is the first woman to have officiated at men's soccer matches at a professional level in Germany; she refereed her first Bundesliga soccer match in September 2017. Her career is something she should be proud of not just because she was the first female referee in Bundesliga but also because of recognitions she obtained for her work being named as one of Germany's top referees in 2018. This is something every referee should be proud of, regardless of whether it is a man or a woman, but strict Islamic rules are blind when it comes to a woman's position. 

Because the audience could be able to see a woman in shorts, Iranian television decided that it is better not to show them the soccer match at all. They were not allowed to see some of the best soccer players and one of the top German referees, just because, according to Islamic rules, large amounts of female skin was visible. While these rules are in effect, the whole society (not only women) will be deprived of seeing some sport events, movies or other works of art because they are marked as inappropriate.

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