The Qatar World Cup is making history one by one with its every move. Firstly, this is going to be the first time that a football World Cup will be played in the Middle East. Secondly, It is going to be the first time the tournament will be played in the months of November and December. And finally, it may also be the first men’s World Cup tournament in which women referees are going to refer.
On Thursday, FIFA named three women among the 36 referees who have been chosen to officiate at the event and three more in the group of assistants that will run the line at the biggest football tournament. The most likely candidate among the three referees to get a starring role is Stéphanie Frappart of France, who has broken a number of barriers in European soccer as well. She is the first woman to referee men in the Champions League, France’s top division as well as World Cup qualification games. Alongside Frappart in the refereeing group, there are Salima Mukansanga from Rwanda and Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan.
“This concludes a long process that began several years ago with the deployment of female referees at FIFA men’s junior and senior tournaments,” said Pierluigi Collina, the chairman of the FIFA referees committee. “In this way, we clearly emphasize that it is quality that counts for us and not gender.”
Apart from that, North American women referee Kathryn Nesbitt has also been selected to participate in the tournament as assistant referees. She’s joined by Mexico’s Karen Díaz Medina and Brazil’s Neuza Back.
“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,” Collina said. “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.