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World Cup referees Kuttler and Merz on problems

Dhe German handball referees Maike Merz and Tanja Kuttler complained about unequal treatment between the sexes in the past before their premiere at a men’s World Cup. “A lot of obstacles were put in our way at the beginning, so we don’t have to mince our words. We were simply not believed to be able to go all the way to the top,” said Kuttler to the “Mannheimer Morgen”.

Merz reported: “When we started, women at the pipe were not the norm, but an exception. We were exotic. When we entered a hall, we often had to listen to something.”

With the sisters from Baden-Württemberg, two German referees will be present for the first time at the World Cup finals in Poland and Sweden, which begin on Wednesday.

“Have to be better than men”

However, the ascent was very difficult for both of them. “What happened automatically with ambitious and committed men was not made possible for us for a long time. We had to be better than men,” said Kuttler. The situation is now different: “A lot has changed for the better.”

The upcoming tournament is “a highlight in our career. We consider it an appreciation of our work to have been nominated for this World Cup,” said Kuttler. The two sisters have been whistling together since 2008 and have also been used in the men’s Bundesliga since 2019.

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