For the first time, a World Cup will be refereed by women and will take place in Qatar, a country which recognizes fewer rights for women than for men. Women have managed to break through in recent decades, with their competitions becoming increasingly recognized and protagonists.
It took a long time, 92 years and 21 editions, but women will finally be present on the playing field of a World Cup. For the first time since the World Cup in Uruguay in 1930, there will be female referees in the men’s national team championship. Six women referees will be in charge of writing history (three main referees and three assistants) and they will do so in Qatar, a country where they have fewer rights than men.
Stéphanie Frappart, the first woman to referee a Champions League match, Rwandan Salima Mukansanga and Japanese Yoshimi Yamashita will be the main referees of the tournament. But they won’t be the only ones. Brazilian Neuza Back, Mexican Karen Diaz Medina and American Kathryn Nesbitt will be on the sideline as line judges.
Stéphanie Frappart (1983): the benchmark
Stéphanie Frappart is the best known and recognized of the referees who will be present in Qatar. Throughout her career, she has been dedicated to breaking down walls. In 2014, she became the first woman to referee a men’s professional match when she officiated in the second division. After five seasons, she made the jump to Ligue 1 in 2019, cementing her place among France’s refereeing elite.
The same year, after having refereed major women’s tournaments, including World Cup finals, she was appointed to referee the European Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea. Shortly after, in 2020, she was the first woman to referee a Champions League match (Juventus-Dinamo kyiv) and to participate in a European championship, in this case as an assistant to Dutchman Danny Makkelie during the Turkey-Italy match that opened the tournament in 2021. Today in Qatar, he is part of the list of candidates to lead the opening match between Qatar and Ecuador.
Yoshimi Yamashita (Japan, 1986): sole representative of Japan
At the World Cup in Qatar, there will be only one representative from the Japanese Referees Association, and it will be a woman. Yoshimi Yamashita, an international since 2015, began her relationship with refereeing when she entered university and since 2018, when she refereed the U-17 Women’s World Cup, she has had a meteoric rise to become the first female referee of a Men’s Asian Cup game and a Men’s Asian Champions League game, both in 2019.
” It’s the quality that counts for us and not the sex“said Pierluigi Collina, once the world’s best-known referee and now head of FIFA’s referees committee, after being asked why Yamashita was chosen ahead of other referees in his country. .
Salima Mukasanga (Rwanda, 1988): the double claim
Although she played basketball during her studies, Salima Rhadia Mukasanga has always had a strong interest in football and, more particularly, in refereeing. This is why she decided to train to become a professional referee, which she made official in 2012. From there, she began a career which developed with her participation in the U-17 and U-17 Africa Cups. -20.
Ten years later, at the start of 2022, comes what is his most significant performance so far, being present in several matches of the Men’s Africa Cup, first as a fourth official and then as main referee. Never before has a woman achieved such a feat in Africa. In Qatar, she will be the first black woman to referee World Cup matches.
Neuza Back (Brazil, 1984): target of macho insults from Jairzinho
If there is a country where machismo and football go hand in hand, it is Brazil. Just ask Neuza Back, who must have experienced the public scorn of Jairzinho, world champion with the carioca nation in 1970 and national idol. During a 2020 La Liga match between Vasco da Gama and Botofogo, where Black acted as a linesman, the former player, who was commentating on the game on TV, insulted him, telling him to “go wash your clothes“. These comments forced the ex-footballer to apologize, assuring that ” it wouldn’t happen again“.
A professional since 2014, she is a regular at events such as the Copa Libertadores and Women’s World Cups, and formed a team of referees with compatriot Edina Alves and Argentina’s Mariana de Almeida at the Club World Cup. 2021.
Karen Diaz Medina (Mexico, 1984): the engineer who preferred the sideline to the playing field.
For Karen Diaz Medina, arbitration began as a way to earn money to pay for her university studies in agro-industrial engineering. But she discovered that refereeing football matches was her great passion. In 2009, she therefore decided to turn professional, although her parents told her that she ” was going to starve“. This decision changed his life and he certainly does not regret it.
Seven years later, she made her debut in the Mexican league by refereeing a match between Pachuca and León, which was the big step towards her appointment as a FIFA referee two years later. Since then, she has been a regular in her country’s opening and closing men’s championship matches.
Kathryn Nesbitt (USA, 1988): Equal parts chemist and referee
From research in his lab at Towson University in Baltimore to linesman duty at a World Cup. Kathryn Nesbitt’s life is divided between her work as a chemist during the week and that of a linesman at the weekend in the American MLS, where she arrived in 2015, just two years after making her debut.
The turning point in her career was the MLS Cup Final between the Seattle Sounders and the Columbus Crew in 2020, where she was part of the refereeing team. Since then, he has been a linesman in several men’s World Cup qualifying matches, where he now arrives on the strength of a precocious career.
Chloé Beaudoux, Cathy Rémy, Stephanie Den only, Manuela Nicolosi, Michelle O’Neill and Edina Alves Batista will referee matches at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2022 in Qatar. Qatar has been criticized for its lack of female representation in football and FIFA has decided that 6 of the 52 referees will be women.
Cathy Rémy is the only French referee on the list and said: “It’s a huge responsibility to referee a World Cup, whether it’s a man or a woman. She added: “I feel ready to take on this challenge and hope that other women will be inspired to become referees after seeing women officiating at the World Cup.”
Remy was selected as head referee for six matches at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and officiated in the 2019 UEFA Women’s Champions League final.
The other women on the list are: Italian Manuela Nicolosi, Irish Michelle O’Neill, Australian Stephanie Den only, Argentina Edina Alves Batista and Chilean Chloé Beaudoux.
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