The Qatar World Cup 2022 is set to have a woman refereeing fixtures for the first time in the tournament's history, with FIFA selecting three female officials to take charge of games in Qatar.
Frenchwomen Stephanie Frappart is one of the women refereeing at the 2022 World Cup, and she is perhaps the most recognisable of the three to European audiences. Frappart became the first woman to officiate men's Ligue 1, Champions League and World Cup qualification fixtures in the past couple of years, having been on the FIFA International Referees List since 2009.
The 38-year-old refereed the Netherlands' game against Latvia in 2021, and earlier this year she took charge of the 2022 Coupe de France Final. Due to her displays in managing games, Frappart won three successive IFFHS World's Best Woman Referee titles between 2019 and 2021.
Salima Mukansanga, from Rwanda, is another of the three female referees at the World Cup, 10 months after becoming the first woman to referee a game at the Africa Cup of Nations in January. Indeed, Mukansanga led an all female officiating team at AFCON for the first time ever, for Zimbabwe's game against Guinea.
She has also officiated games at the Olympics, Women's World Cup and in the CAF Women's Champions League, and, at 34-years-old, she is still relatively young to post those achievements.
Japan's Yoshimi Yamashita is the third and final female referee making history at the 2022 World Cup, and, similarly to the two others, this isn't the first time either. Yamashita became the first woman to referee in the AFC Champions League and J-League earlier this year.
She has previously officiated at the Women's World Cup in 2019 and the 2020 Summer Olympics, too.
Meanwhile, there will be three assistant referees at the tournament as well. Neuza Back from Brazil, Karen Díaz Medina from Mexico and Kathryn Nesbitt from the USA are all set to help with the on-field referee during games at the tournament.
Pierluigi Collina, chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, said: “We are very happy that with Stéphanie 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.
"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 World Cup because they constantly perform at a really high level, and that’s the important factor for us."
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