Sapir Berman: Israel’s first transgender referee

As confirmed by the Israeli FA on Tuesday, Sapir Berman has become the country’s first transgender referee.

In a statement posted on Israeli FA Twitter account, it was announced:

We have a new Referee, Sapir Berman. The first Referee to be transgender. We are so proud.

We have a new Referee, Sapir Berman. The first Referee to be transgender❗
We are so proud 🇮🇱🏳️‍⚧️@UEFA @FIFAcom

— ISRAEL FA (@ISRAELFA) April 27, 2021

Now 26, Sapir was formerly known as Sagi.

Sagi joined the Israeli Referees Association aged 17, while he was promoted as a top-flight referee in the country in July 2020.


Israeli football community welcome Sapir Berman with open arms

Many of Israel’s leading clubs have turned to social media to celebrate Sapir Berman.

For example, Maccabi Netanya congratulated Berman for her “courage and openness”.

ברכות לשופטת ספיר ברמן (שגיא ברמן) על האומץ והפתיחות.

(צילם אמש, ברני ארדוב)

— מכבי נתניה (@Fcmn_il) April 25, 2021

#BREAKING #LGBT news from #Israel: Sagi Berman, a Premier League Football referee, is transitioning from male to female and changing her name to Sapir. She will be the first transgender referee in the nation’s history, Israel Football association announces @kann_news 🏳️‍🌈🇮🇱

— Ittai Shickman | איתי שיקמן (@ittaishick) April 25, 2021

Sapir Berman speaks to the media

Also on Tuesday, Sapir Berman held a press conference to address her new identity.

One of the questions posed to the official is how she intends to deal with abuse from fans in the future. Sapir said:

I’m not afraid of the crowd in stadiums. I know there are a lot of curses, even sexist ones, and I’ve heard them for many years.

But during a game I pay them no attention. I am very strong and I can handle it.

השופטת הטרנסג’נדרית ספיר ברמן: “אני לא חוששת מהקהל באצטדיונים. אני יודעת שיש הרבה קללות, גם סקסיסטיות, ואני שומעת אותן הרבה שנים. אבל בזמן משחק זה אפילו לא ‘נשמע’. אני מאוד חזקה ואוכל להתמודד עם זה”@YoavBorowitz

— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) April 27, 2021

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