The Elite DFB Referee Commission have come to a decision – Bibiana Steinhaus and Dr. Felix Brych are the 2018 Referees of the Year. As part of the closing ceremony of the referee training camp in Grassau in Chiemsee on Saturday, which DFB president Reinhard Grindel attended, the two DFB referees were recognised with the award. The annual vote for the “Referee of the Year” was undertaken by the Elite DFB Referee Commission, and as a partner of the DFB refereeing association, DEKRA supported the special accolade.
“There has been so much success for our referees this season. This has made the vote for the “Referee of the Year” a really tough and exciting decision to make, just as it has been in past years too. In Bibiana Steinhaus and Dr. Felix Brych, we have two extremely worthy prize-winners this year,” Ronny Zimmermann, the DFB vice-president for Refereeing and Qualifications said. For Bibiana Steinhaus, it is her seventh “Female Referee of the Year” title and it is the second year in a row that she has won the award. Dr. Felix Brych picked up the title for a fourth time – the last time coming in 2016.
“The award is so well-deserved once again for Bibiana Steinhaus, who was incredible in her first Bundesliga season. This achievement alone, without her appearances on an international stage in a wide variety of competitions, cannot be underestimated. And as far as I know, that achievement is unique worldwide,” Ronny Zimmerman said, lauding praise on the prize-winner. Steinhaus oversaw eight games in her debut Bundesliga season and was the first ever woman to referee a game in the German top flight. On Matchday 3 in the game between Hertha BSC and Werder Bremen, the referee made her Bundesliga debut and in doing so, made German football history.
Helmut Geyer, acting chairman of the DFB referee committee, added, “Bibiana Steinhaus more than justified her nomination for the Bundesliga last season with some great performances. As well as that, for years, she has proved herself at the highest level. So the award is a logical and well-deserved one for a top-quality referee on both the national and international stage.”
In the male category, the award winner, who is coming up to his 250th Bundesliga appearance and so will move up to fourth place in the all-time Bundesliga appearance list for referees, can look back on his performances with pride. “Felix Brych has had an unbelievably successful year, crowned by being given the award of the world’s best referee in December 2017. His performances in the knockout rounds of this season’s Champions League also showed that he is a top-class referee. He won’t get too down about the unfortunate way the World Cup panned out and he will prove his extraordinary ability once again,” DFB vice-president Zimmermann explained.
“Felix Brych achieved a lot in the 2017/18 season. He was voted as the world referee of the year which is a huge honour! He really impressed with his performances in the Champions League, so much so that he was called upon four times in the knockout phase alone, including in the semi-final held in Liverpool. That goes to show the trust that the top European competitions have put in his abilities as an exceptional referee,” said Lutz Michael Fröhlich, chairman of the elite refereeing commission. Fröhlich also added: “he was able to prove himself domestically above all in the notoriously difficult second half of the season, when tensions are high and the stakes are higher. With his vast experience and energy with which he brings when he referees, he was nominated by FIFA to be a referee at the World Cup in Russia. It’s a shame that he couldn’t cap off a wonderful season there. Nevertheless, the nomination was a just reward for his achievements in the 2017/18 season.”
As the official partner of DFB referees, DEKRA also congratulates both prize winners: “Bibiana Steinhaus and Dr. Felix Brych have showed their world class refereeing ability for years now and are shining examples of the values that both DEKRA and the DFB referees stand for,” says Stephan Heigl, DEKRA’s director of marketing and communication. “As an independent organization of experts, fair play is of central importance to our daily work. That doesn’t just go for within Germany, but for the more than 50 countries over all five continents that we work in. It’s on this foundation that we have fully supported DFB referees for 15 years.”###more###