Thorsten Kinhöfer passed his refereeing exams at the age of 16. However, the native of Herne played football himself until the age of 18 and refereed youth matches at the same time.

At the age of 18, he decided against his own football career and to become a referee. Via the district league, district league, state league, Westphalia league and premier league, the trained industrial clerk made it onto the DFB list as a linesman in the 1st Bundesliga in 1994. In 1997, Kinhöfer officiated his first 2nd division match and, after a trial match in the Bundesliga, was promoted to Bundesliga referee in the 2001/2002 season.

Thorsten Kinhöfer Lecture Topic

  • “Decisions in millions in fractions of a second – what does “pressure” mean in sport?”

His good performance did not go unnoticed by FIFA, which nominated him as a FIFA referee in 2006. This was followed by assignments in the Champions League, Europa League and World Cup qualifiers. The passionate golfer refereed more than 352 matches in the first and second Bundesliga and 71 matches at international level. All in all, he has refereed or assisted more than 610 times in paid football.

The managing director of a municipal subsidiary in Herne played his last match in May 2015 before retiring as a Bundesliga referee at the age of 47. Kinhöfer now works as a referee expert for Bild am Sonntag and is a welcome guest in various football formats.

In addition, he gives keynote speeches on the topic of “Decisions in Millions in Fractions of a Second” in medium-sized companies and corporations and impressively demonstrates what companies can learn from referees.