In First for Israeli Soccer, Referee From Top League Comes Out as Transgender

Sapir Berman has the support of the Football Association and the Referees Association, and will continue to work for the Israeli Premier League while she transitions

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Soccer referee Sapir Berman, 28, has been a member of the Referees Association for a decade.
Soccer referee Sapir Berman, 28, has been a member of the Referees Association for a decade.Credit: Israel Football Association

An Israeli Premier League soccer referee has come out as a transgender woman, in a first for Israeli soccer.

Sapir Berman, born Sagi, is expected to announce her transition at a joint press conference with the Israel Football Association set for Tuesday.

Berman has notified the Football Association and the Referee Association of her decision to transition; she began hormone treatment in recent months.

The associations have supported Berman’s decision and said she would continue being part of the Premier League. So far, no transgender woman has served as a Premier League referee.

Berman, 28, has been a member of the Referees Association for a decade. This season she joined the Premier League and served as referee in three matches. But the hormones she is taking have affected her physical well-being, and in the past months she has served mainly as assistant referee. However, Berman will soon be able to return to her role as main referee.

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