In 2014 she was voted as the German female referee of the year. In 2015 her career precipitated with a historic mistake. Now Marija Kurtes (28) resigned and strongly criticized DFB, UEFA and FIFA. In a statement on her Facebook page, Kurtes said that the main reason for her surprise resignation was "structural problems within the DFB, UEFA and FIFA". After she tried in vain to bring changes, Kurtes arrived at the conclusion that "what happens in refereeing does not correspond to my beliefs". She mentioned “the lack of transparency in the decision-making structures, lack of clear responsibilities and contact within the associations. The hierarchical structures demand conformity to the system. Repressive and selective decisions came to light. This was working, because enough people are involved. Our services are required, but each of us is left on its own. From a scientific training and sport medicine point of view, this is very risky. They also live a culture of errors. Their decisions and actions are not comprehensible, but bound to individual persons who cannot hide. These injustices are reoccurring and never adjusted", Kurtes wrote in a public letter.
Marija Kurtes became famous last year, when her mistake forced UEFA to replay the final seconds of the U-19 Euro qualifier England - Norway. With Norway winning 2-1, England was awarded a penalty kick in the sixth minute of stoppage time. Leah Williamson scored the penalty kick, but the referee, Marija Kurtes, disallowed the goal because one England player entered the penalty area before the ball was kicked. Norway played out the final minute of stoppage time and won the match 2-1. The Laws of the Game state that the referee should have ordered the penalty to be retaken and UEFA said it had no choice but to order the final moments of the match be replayed from the moment of the penalty kick. The shortest international match in the history was born. "The 'real' error was not in the rules, but the way I was treated, feeling 'like a prisoner' in Belfast for three days”, said Kurtes.
"It is extremely unfortunate that a young and talented referee as Marija Kurtes takes this step to resign", said DFB Vice-President Ronny Zimmermann. "The DFB refereeing has improved by creating structures and new ways of doing things. Referees are closely involved in this process. In addition, I have also spoken extensively with Marija Kurtes, which makes her resignation even more regrettable".
Marija Kurtes became a FIFA referee in 2012 and two years later she was named the German female referee of the year. Now she had enough. "For me, personally, that was the right decision", she concludes. "I am at peace".