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Augsburg's Michael Gregoritsch pleading with Bibiana Steinhaus
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Wagner

Iranian TV cancels Bundesliga broadcast with female referee

Timothy Jones
February 17, 2019

Iranian state TV did not broadcast a Bundesliga soccer match because of the presence of a woman as referee, media say. The Islamic country censors the showing of women in "revealing" clothes such as football shorts.

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Iranian state broadcaster IRIB did not show a Bundesliga match between Bayern Munich and Augsburg on Friday because German referee Bibiana Steinhaus was officiating, German media reported, citing Iranian media.

The broadcast was reportedly canceled because the country's strict Islamic regulations do not allow the showing of images of women wearing clothes that reveal large amounts of skin, such as football shorts.

Natalie Amiri, Iran correspondent for German public broadcaster ARD, tweeted that the broadcast in Iran had been canceled "at the last minute," asking, "and who is responsible? Of course, it's Bibi again..."

Strict censorship

In Iran, movie scenes showing women in what is deemed revealing clothing are censored. But this would have been impossible when broadcasting Friday's match, as Steinhaus was continually visible, reports said.

However, a Bundesliga match in May last year, with Steinhaus as referee, was reportedly censored in this way, with random shots of spectators shown every time the cameras focused on her.

Steinhaus, 39, is the first woman to have officiated at men's football matches at a professional level in Germany. She refereed her first Bundesliga match in September 2017.

She was named as one of Germany's top referees in 2018.

Read more: Bibiana Steinhaus: 'I want to inspire people'

Ms Steinhaus, are you a pioneer?

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