Violence against football referees
— for 11 Freunde
— It happens every week - Football referees are exposed to verbal and physical attacks. Many of them quit refereeing, especially in amateur league. 11 Freunde interviewed some of the amateur league referees who are left. They all got in contact with any kind of verbal or physical violence, even against themselves - and they found different ways to deal with these incidents.
— Natalie, 19 years old, 1,60 m high, is an active referee in the Berlin Women's Association league and also in the Men's league, up to district league. She studies teaching and wants to work as a teacher in a social hotspot school in the future. Learning about different characters helps her as a referee as well. Sometimes she is attacked verbally in a sexist way because of her gender. Players for example tell her she does not "belong in Men's football". She says one has to be robust for being a referee and for being a teacher as well.
— Kevin, 29 years old, active referee for 12 years. In these years he was attacked three times physically. Once a player was banned from the game for 6 month by a sports court after he attacked the referee while a match. For Kevin the case was closed afterwards. Quitting being a referee because of incidents like this was never an option for him. If he would do, the violence would have won.
— Philip, 30 years old, police officer, was an active referee for 11 years when an attack against him lead him to the decision it would be better to take quit from refereeing. After the match he called his referee supervisor and told him he's out. He was not on the field for half a year until he returned to proof himself he could learn from the incident and come back stronger than before.
11 Freunde — No. 247 - photography — Paulina Hildesheim - author — Tim Jürgens