Female referees will take part in the men’s World Championships for the first time


Female referees will make World Cup history this year by taking part in a major men’s tournament in Qatar for the first time.

Three female referees and three female assistant referees were announced by FIFA on Thursday from among 129 officials selected for the World Cup, including a man who sparked controversy by refereeing a chaotic match at the Africa Cup of Nations in January as he was suffering from heat stroke.

French referee Stéphanie Frappart refereed the men’s World Cup and Champions League qualifiers, having officiated the 2019 Women’s World Cup final. She also refereed the men’s Coupe de France final this month.

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“As always, the criteria we have used is ‘quality first’ and the referees selected represent the highest level of refereeing in the world,” FIFA Referees Committee Chairman Pierluigi Collina said. who took part in the 2002 World Cup final. “In this way we make it clear that it is the quality that counts for us and not the gender.”

Rwandan Salima Mukansanga and Japanese official Yoshimi Yamashita are also on the list of 36 referees preparing for the 64-match tournament, which will be played from November 21 to December 18.

The 69 assistant referees include Neuza Back from Brazil, Karen Diaz Medina from Mexico and Kathryn Nesbitt from the United States.

“I hope that in the future the selection of elite female match officials for important men’s competitions will be seen as normal and not sensational anymore,” Collina said.

Among the male referees is Zambian Janny Sikazwe, who blew the final whistle in an Africa Cup group game after 85 minutes and still 13 seconds before the end of the 90 minutes, with Mali leading Tunisia 1-0.

About 30 minutes after the match, officials ordered the teams back onto the field to resume play, but Tunisia refused. The result was later ratified by the Confederation of African Football despite an official protest from Tunisia.

The match was played in the heat and humidity in Cameroon, and Sikazwe later explained that he started to get confused in the intense conditions.

Sikazwe will be participating in his second World Cup after playing two group matches at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

The extreme heat in Qatar led FIFA to decide in 2015 to move the tournament to the cooler months in the Gulf emirate.

FIFA chose 24 men to work on the video reviews. The VAR system debuted in 2018.

FIFA said 50 referee and assistant trios began preparations in 2019 for the World Cup, with the project affected by international travel limits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two referees were chosen from Argentina, Brazil, England and France.

All officials – who have not been allocated to specific teams of three – will face future technical, physical and medical assessments this year, FIFA said.


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