Israeli soccer referee, Sapir Berman had made history on Monday, after becoming the first transgender to officiate a football match in Israel’s Premier League.
Berman officiated a match between Beitar Jerusalem and Hapoel Haifa on Monday, May 3, 2021, after publicly announcing her transition in a press conference last week Tuesday.
During the press conference, the 26-year-old who was already a top referee in Israel’s leading soccer league, said she had always seen herself as a female, even at a young age.
“I was a successful man. Whether in the referees’ union or in school or with girls. But when I was alone, I was a woman. And I separated between these worlds because I understood that society will not accept me,” she said.
She told reporters that Israeli football players have already been addressing her as a female in Hebrew language whenever they are talking to her.
“There are players that already speak to me as a female. They really feel that they want to somehow take part in this process and even speak to me when it’s not necessary and speak to me as a woman. So, thank you,” she said.
It was reported that a fan was spotted outside the stadium carrying a banner that hailed Berman as a “super woman, incredible, brave”.
Israel Football Association tweeted: “This is the first step in a long and wonderful journey. Sapir, we are proud to do it with you.”
— ISRAEL FA (@ISRAELFA) May 4, 2021
Berman is not the first transgender referee in the soccer world, as British referee Lucy Clark came out as transgender in 2018. But she is part of a small group of professional sports referees who have come out as transgender.
Meanwhile, a German woman, Imke Wubbenhorst, who coaches a male football team, has made a shocking revelation that she picks her team players based on their manhood size.