Last weekend, Bibiana Steinhaus (Germany) and Lorraine Wilson (Scotland) made their debut as the first female referees in their country’s top division. However, the very first woman referee appointed to a men’s match in the highest national division was Silvia Regina de Oliveira, 14 years ago, in Brazil.
Silvia Regina de Oliveira, former FIFA referee, arrived in the first division of the Brazilian Championship in 2003, debuting with a female trio in the match between Guarani and São Paulo, assisted by Ana Paula de Oliveira and Aline Lambert. It was a historical day for the Brazilian and international refereeing. She made important appearances and remained at the highest level until 2005, including a classic match between Sao Paulo and Corinthians, played in front of a huge crowd at the Morumbi stadium. A success never achieved by another woman in the country. Silvia participated in the Olympic Games and currently she is a FIFA Referee Instructor, working in the Referee Department of the Paulista Football Federation (Brazil).