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Female Referees To Officiate At Men's World Cup For The First Time In History

Max Sherry

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Female Referees To Officiate At Men's World Cup For The First Time In History

For the first time in history, female referees will officiate at a men's World Cup.

In a landmark moment for the sport, FIFA have announced that the 2022 tournament in Qatar will include three female referees and three assistant referees.

The decision has received overwhelming praise from the wider football community.

"This concludes a long process that began several years ago with the deployment of female referees at FIFA men's junior and senior tournaments," chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee Pierluigi Collina said.

"In this way, we clearly emphasise that it is quality that counts for us and not gender. I would hope that in the future, the selection of elite women's match officials for important men's competitions will be perceived as something normal and no longer as sensational.

"They deserve to be at the FIFA World Cup because they constantly perform at a really high level, and that's the important factor for us."

Yoshimi Yamashita. Credit: Alamy
Yoshimi Yamashita. Credit: Alamy

Stephanie Frappart is perhaps the most well-known of the officials, having become the first woman to referee a Champions League game.

She's joined by Rwandan Salima Mukansanga, who is the first female to referee an Africa Cup of Nations match, and Japanese official Yoshimi Yamashita who was the first woman referee to take charge of an AFC Champions League clash and comes with plenty of experience having officiated the women's World Cup.

Meanwhile, the assistant referees consist of Neuza Back (Brazil), Kathryn Nesbitt (USA) and Karen Diaz Medina (Mexico).

The 2018 World Cup in Russia was the first time fans were subject to the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

Throughout the tournament, the controversial technology made plenty of headlines and left some supporters pulling what's left of their hair out.

Stephanie Frappart. Credit: Alamy
Stephanie Frappart. Credit: Alamy

But if football fans thought FIFA would be scrapping it for this year's World Cup, then you'd be sorely mistaken.

It's hear to stay and a team of 24 VAR officials has been assembled for Qatar.

"As always, the criteria we have used is 'quality first' and the selected match officials represent the highest level of refereeing worldwide," Collina added.

"The 2018 World Cup was very successful, partly because of the high standard of refereeing, and we will do our best to be even better in a few months in Qatar.

"The pandemic affected our activities, in particular in 2020 and at the beginning of 2021. Luckily, the World Cup was still quite far, and we had enough time to provide the candidates with good preparation. We are announcing these selections well in advance as we want to work even harder with all those who have been appointed for the FIFA World Cup, monitoring them in the next months.

"The message is clear: don't rest on your laurels, keep working hard and prepare yourselves very seriously for the World Cup."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Australia, Football, FIFA Club World Cup

Max Sherry
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