HomeLearning CenterShe Made History as the First Woman to Referee a Men’s World Cup Match

She Made History as the First Woman to Referee a Men’s World Cup Match

When a referee generates column inches, it is normally some indictment of their performance; the result of an uproar after a controversial decision.

But Stéphanie Frappart’s traditional anonymity has been broken for a different reason – she will make history on Thursday as the first woman to referee a men’s World Cup match.

Alongside assistants Neuza Back from Brazil and Karen Diaz from Mexico, the Frenchwoman will form part of an all-female refereeing trio officiating Costa Rica vs. Germany in their Group E match.

Six female match officials have been officiating at this World Cup – referees Frappart, Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga and Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita as well as assistant referees Back, Diaz and Kathryn Nesbitt of the US.

FIFA announced their appointment back in May, when Frappart found out that she was going to the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

“It’s a surprise, you cannot believe it and after two or three minutes, you realize that you are going to the World Cup. It’s amazing, not only for me, but also for my family and also for the French referees,” she tells CNN Sport.

Throughout her career, Frappart has achieved a seemingly endless series of firsts.

In 2019, she became the first female referee to take charge of a Ligue 1 match, in August 2019 the first to take charge of a major men’s European match, and in 2020, the first to officiate a men’s UEFA Champions League match.

“I knew that my life changed after 2019 because most people recognized me in the street,” Frappart recalls.

“So I am like a role model, for women referees but I think it [also] inspired some women in society or in companies to take more and more responsibility.”


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