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Female referees criticized: Game director Breier – “We have to become more professional”

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Female referees criticized: Game director Breier – “We have to become more professional”

As of: March 4, 2024 5:52 p.m

The Bundesliga referees have recently come under criticism. Referee Naemi Breier from Zerf on the Moselle thinks criticism is okay, but it should be respectful. Basically, she demands more professionalism.

Naemi Breier is actually currently completing training. But her hobby as a referee has now become a kind of second job: training five times a week plus a game on the weekend, a maximum of one day off – that’s the workload she does every week as a referee in the women’s Bundesliga and the men’s league completed their actual job. “It often happens that we drive straight from work to the game,” says Breier, who was hit by 1. FC Nürnberg’s criticism of the Bundesliga referees’ performance “as if out of nowhere.”

Nuremberg’s criticism was partly disrespectful

At the beginning of February, promoted team 1. FC Nürnberg had massively criticized the performance of the female referees and called for the league to be opened up to male referees. The Nuremberg women’s sporting director, Osman Cankaya, described the situation as “alarming” and “no longer acceptable” after numerous wrong decisions and denounced “qualitative grievances and structural deficits” at the German Football Association (DFB). “It’s perfectly fine for the club to express criticism. But the question is how do I express it, and that was disrespectful to us,” explains Breier.

Financial security for female referees

“We have to work through all of this now. This is now a new challenge that we have to face,” Breier doesn’t want to look back so much as she thinks constructively about the future. She and her colleagues are increasingly in the spotlight, including in the media, which is why she has one main demand: “We have to become more professional.”

A big problem for them is the lack of financial support. For comparison: a female referee receives 700 euros per game, a referee in the men’s Bundesliga receives 5,000 euros plus at least 62,000 euros basic salary. “We have to have a certain level of security. But it’s not just the DFB that has to ensure this, the clubs also have to be brought on board. If the clubs want more professionalism, we then have to think about how we can manage that.”

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Men conceivable in women’s games

Breier is fundamentally positive about the demand to allow men to referee in the women’s top division in the future. “Men can of course also whistle in our classes, you can certainly imagine that. We women are not averse to that. But that takes time,” says Breier. Christine Beitinger, sports director of referees at the DFB, sees it similarly. “The prerequisite must be that male referees are part of the women’s Bundesliga. Then we are basically open to it. So referees should be part of the women’s Bundesliga squad.” Beitinger admitted for the women’s Bundesliga: “There have undoubtedly been some wrong decisions this season, which of course we are not happy about.”

Improve conditions

However, the former FIFA referee doesn’t want to know anything about a quality problem and, like Breier, points to a fundamental misery at the top level: One shouldn’t forget that “almost all of our female referees are still fully employed and some of them have children at home. That’s asking quite a lot . We want to improve the conditions so that they have more freedom.” The aim is to create these opportunities and the budget for this at the DFB.

To learn from mistakes

If that were possible, everyone would certainly be helped. For Naemi Breier it’s currently a matter of continuing to train, whistle and give her best. She loves her job as a referee. “Of course it’s difficult to always make the right decisions. But that’s exactly what shapes your personality: that you learn from mistakes and always think positively in order to do things better in the future.”

Broadcast on Saturday, March 2, 2024, 7:30 p.m., SWR Aktuell Rhineland-Palatinate, SWR RP

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