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Bibiana Steinhaus censored in Iran?

Felix Tamsut AP
May 8, 2018

An Iranian television station is reported to have avoided showing the Bundesliga's only female referee during Bayern Munich's game in Cologne. Instead, the directors switched to shots of spectators.

Fußball FC Schalke 04 v 1. FSV Mainz 05 - 1. Bundesliga Schiedsrichterin Bibiana Steinhaus
Image: Imago/Eibner/Schueler

The Bundesliga's rising popularity means that its games are now broadcast all over the world, but this doesn't mean that everybody sees exactly the same product.

During the broadcast of last Saturday's match between Cologne and Bayern Munich on Iranian state television, viewers  are reported to have experienced repeated interruptions to the Bundesliga's international feed. The reason? The referee was Bibiana Steinhaus, a woman.

According to Natalie Amiri, German public broadcaster ARD's Tehran correspondent, Iranian censors ensured that the local broadcast switched to random camera shots of spectators every time the Bundesliga feed focused on Steinhaus.

Steinhaus, who's been a German second division official since 2007, with more than 80 matches under her belt, was promoted to the Bundesliga this season, making her the first ever female referee in Germany's top flight.

Women not allowed to football in Iran

The treatment of women in Iranian football has also made the headlines recently, with FIFA President Gianni Infantino being criticized for attending an Iranian league match in February, for which 35 women were denied entry. Some women got into the match by disguising themselves as men. 

The FIFA boss has said that he had been "promised" that women in Iran will be able to attend football games in the Islamic Republic "soon," but at the same time, he refrained from criticizing Iran over the current policy of keeping them out.

Felix Tamsut Kommentarbild
Felix Tamsut Sports reporter@ftamsut