Referees Panther, Tsaroucha make basketball history
History was made in the 7DAYS EuroCup this week when Frutti Extra Bursaspor hosted Gran Canaria on Wednesday. The game marked the first time in the top level men’s European club basketball competitions that two female referees officiated a game together.
Anne Panther and Vasiliki Tsaroucha were joined by Kristaps Konstantinovs to officiate the Round 5 contest, which saw the visiting team triumph 74-85.
Panther has been a Euroleague referee since 2016 and became the first woman ever to officiate a Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four game at the 2019 edition in Vitoria-Gasteiz.
“To see a female colleague next to you on the court is a very rewarding experience that I hope will be commonplace in the future,” Panther said of the game.
After a 22-year playing career, which also saw her represent the Greek national team in the Mediterranean Games, Tsaroucha became a referee. This is her third season as a Euroleague Basketball referee.
“It was a true honor to join Anne and Kristaps to officiate that EuroCup game,” Tsaroucha said. “Anne is one of the main references when talking about top-level officiating and having the opportunity to learn from her experience is always outstanding.”
Panther and Tsaroucha follow in the steps of Anna Cardus, who retired after the 206-17 season. She was the first woman to ever officiate in Euroleague Basketball competitions back in 2004.
“It shouldn´t be a surprise to see Anne and Vasiliki officiating together one of our games”, stated Richard Stokes, Euroleague Basketball senior director of officiating “They have both already proven themselves capable of officiating in our competitions and have demonstrated the standards and commitment that are required to work at this level. Their development has been further enhanced from the experience they developed during their player career, providing them with valuable insights of how the game is played.”