For the first time in history, the FIFA Referees Committee has appointed three women's referees and three women's assistant referees to officiate at the upcoming men’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The three referees include Stephanie Frappart, who has already worked in the men’s game having officiated matches in the World Cup qualifiers and the Champions League, Salima Mukansanga, who has experience refereeing the biggest tournaments in Africa, including the Africa Cup of Nations, and the CAF Women’s Champions League, and Yoshimi Yamashita, who has officiated at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the Summer Olympics.
“We are very happy that with Stephanie Frappart from France, Salima Mukansanga from Rwanda and Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan, as well as assistant referees Neuza Back from Brazil, Karen Díaz Medina from Mexico and Kathryn Nesbitt from the USA, we have been able to call up female match officials for the first time in the history of a FIFA World Cup,” said the chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, Pierluigi Collina.
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“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,” continued Collina.
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“As always, the criteria we have used is ‘quality first’ and the selected match officials represent the highest level of refereeing worldwide.”
The 36 referees, 69 assistant referees, and 24 video match officials will have to maintain the standards that they have shown as they will be monitored in the coming months to ensure that they keep their place in Qatar.
“Thanks to an innovative tracking and support programme, all the match officials can be supervised by FIFA referees’ instructors even more closely and intensively than in previous years,” said Massimo Busacca, FIFA’s Director of Refereeing.
“This is a very important factor, from which we expect considerable improvements and progress in view of the FIFA World Cup 2022.
“In addition to that, there will be tailor-made individual programmes, in particular concerning health and fitness. Each match official will be carefully monitored in the next months with a final assessment on technical, physical and medical aspects to be made shortly before the World Cup, in order to have them in the best conditions when the ball starts rolling in Qatar.”
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