Female Referees Set To Make Debut At Men’s World Cup In Qatar

Female referees will make their debut at a men’s World Cup in Qatar this winter, with Stephanie Frappart, Salima Mukansanga and Yoshimi Yamashita on the list of officials for the tournament.

On Thursday, FIFA announced the 129 officials who will be heading to Qatar in November to officiate on the tournament, in one guise or another.

Amongst those named are 36 referees, 69 assistants and 24 who will be in charge of VAR, and on the list of refs three women have been named.

It is the first time ever that female officials have been named for the men’s World Cup and whichever of them gets the chance in a match first will make history.

Frappart has already become the first female referee in the men’s Champions League and World Cup qualifiers, as well as taking charge of the Women’s World Cup final in 2019.

Female Referees Set To Make Debut At Men’s World Cup In Qatar
Frappart has taken control of a World Cup qualifier in the past. Image: PA Images

Rwandan official Mukansanga has been similarly groundbreaking in Africa, becoming the first woman to referee a game in the African Cup of Nations earlier this year.

Yamashita from Japan has also refereed in the AFC Champions League earlier this year, showing the excellent level of experience the three women have.

Legendary referee Pierluigi Collina, who is now chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, said, “This concludes a long process that began several years ago with the deployment of female referees at FIFA men’s junior and senior tournaments.

“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.”

Mukansanga during the African Cup of Nations. Image: PA Images
Mukansanga during the African Cup of Nations. Image: PA Images

The trio aren’t the only female officials who will be in the middle east for the tournament, with Neuza Back, Kathryn Nesbitt and Diaz Medina all selected as assistants.

In further referee news, England will be sending no VAR officials to the tournament, despite Stuart Attwell being on the long list last year, and will be the only major country not to have someone in the video booth.

However, with both Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor being at the tournament, along with four English assistants, it is the only country with more than one male referee at the World Cup.

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