Stephanie Frappart will become the first woman to take charge of a World Cup game on Thursday
France’s Stephanie Frappart will become the first woman to referee a FIFA World Cup fixture when she leads an all-female officiating team at Thursday’s Group E encounter between Germany and Costa Rica.
The 38-year-old Frappart will be flanked at the pivotal match in the Al Bayt Stadium by Brazil’s Neuza Back and Mexican Karen Diaz Medina as her assistants, in what is a sign of diversity in a tournament which has been blighted by allegations of inequality and discrimination.
Frappart has already carved out a piece of history for herself in Qatar when she became the first female official at a FIFA World Cup came when she was assigned fourth official duties for last week’s 0-0 draw between Mexico and Poland.
She also became the first female to oversee a World Cup qualifier when she refereed a match between the Netherlands and Latvia in Amsterdam in 2021, and also the first woman to officiate a Champions League game in a 2020 game between Juventus and Dinamo Kiev.
Frappart was one of three female referees selected by FIFA for the tournament, with the Frenchwoman also being joined by Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga and Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan.
Speaking ahead of the World Cup, Frappart said that she hoped that the inclusion of female referees would help break the glass ceiling that many female referees have encountered in their careers, and that she hoped it would “make things happen” to incite positive change.
“It’s a strong sign from FIFA and the authorities to have women referees in that country,” she said.
The coaches of both Germany and Costa Rica welcomed the move in their pre-match comments.
“I am a great admirer of everything women have conquered,” said Costa Rica boss Luis Fernando Suarez.
“And I like that they want to keep conquering things. And this is another step forward, especially in this sport, which is a very sexist one. I like it. I think it is a situation that is good for football.”
Opposing coach, Germany’s Hansi Flick, added that Frappart’s accomplishments have led her to be in Qatar rather than it being diversity for diversity’s sake.
“I trust her 100%,” he said.
“I think she deserves to be here due to her performance and achievements. I hope she is looking forward to this and I think she will perform very well.”
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