Word of the Week: Schiri

Jun 29, 2012

Every Friday, Germany.info and The Week in Germany highlight a different "Word of the Week" in the German language that may serve to surprise, delight or just plain perplex native English speakers.

Schiri "Schiri" - Red Card Enlarge image A "Schiedrichter", aka "Schiri", or referee, holds up a red card during a soccer match. (© picture-alliance/chromorange)

Although it may sound more like a cute summer cocktail, a Saharan desert wind or a new sub-species of exotic pet gerbil, a "Schiri" is actually a very serious dude who takes care of some pretty serious business - attempting to create a level playing field when world-class soccer players meet their matches on game day.

"Schiri" is short for "Schiedsrichter", or referee. All eyes in Europe are on the "Schiri" when he reprimands a player on the pitch (or field) during games played between national teams as part of the current UEFA Euro 2012 soccer championship, which is now entering the home stretch.

As recently reported by German national broadcaster Deutsche Welle, this nickname for the most important man on the pitch entered was first officially recorded in German dictionaries in 1961.

"Schiedsrichter" (referees), or "Schiri's", before a soccer match in Germany. Enlarge image "Schiedsrichter" (referees), or "Schiri's", before a soccer match in Germany. (© picture-alliance/Defodi) "The Schiri is charged with the difficult task of presiding over a soccer game from a neutral perspective, dishing out the red or yellow cards when a player has broken the rules of the game," Deutsche Welle stated on its website. "One controversial decision on the part of the Schiri could result in invoking the wrath of an entire nation for decades to come."

In the Euro 2012 semi-final, Italy defeated Germany 2-1 on June 28 in Warsaw, Poland. Then Spain went on to defeat Italy 4-0 to win the the title in the final against Spain on July 1, 2012 in Kiev, Ukraine.

A "Schiri" needs to be in top form to ensure fair play during all soccer matches - from local clubs playing each other during the regular season to internationally watched events such as the UEFA Euro championship, which is second only in global soccer stature to the FIFA World Cup.

© Germany.info

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