Stéphanie Frappart, a French soccer referee, led the first all-female referee team in a men’s FIFA World Cup 2022 game, breaking yet another milestone and setting a tournament first in Qatar. The Frenchwoman made history by becoming the first female official at the competition when she was selected as the fourth official for Mexico and Poland’s game on Tuesday.
“We know the pressure,” Frappart told BBC Sport before the tournament.
“But I think we will not change ourselves. Be calm, focused, concentrate, and don’t think too much about the media and everything, just be focused on the field.”
At Al Bayt Stadium on Thursday, Frappart was assisted by Brazilian Neuza Back and Mexican Karen Diaz Medina.
In 2020, she was the first woman to officiate a Champions League match involving men. When Liverpool and Chelsea faced off in the 2019 European Super Cup, the 38-year-old made history as the first woman to serve as the match’s referee in a significant men’s Uefa game.
Frappart, Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda, and Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan are three of the 36 officials chosen to mediate the events in Qatar.
Fans’ Reaction to the all-female referee team
The first all-female referee squad for a men’s FIFA World Cup 2022 match made history, and the three officials have received praise from the fans.
Many football fans applauded FIFA on Twitter for using these referees since it gives women better representation in the sports industry.
Before the world cup started, Frappart said she hoped the inclusion of female referees in Qatar would “make things happen” on a broader level. “It’s a strong sign from Fifa and the authorities to have women referees in that country,” she said.
“For once, I can applaud something FIFA does: the first female referee in a WC match!” one wrote. “It’s late, it’s not enough, should not hide the extent to which women are discriminated in football( as athletes but also in football governing bodies), but in itself, it’s positive and powerful.”
“Full women #referee trio taking the pitch for the FIRST time in Men #WorldCup2022,” another wrote. “They are Qualified – sport is a platform to change biases & inspire millions. This is a beautiful game.”
A third person added: “This is important because it delineates ‘women in sport’ from ‘women’s sport’ (in itself important). No reason why a woman cannot coach, referee, commentate or write about men’s sport as well as, or indeed better than in some cases, their male counterparts.”
Another series of firsts at the FIFA World Cup 2022
Jude Bellingham, a 19-year-old player for England, became the first person born in the twenty-first century to score in a World Cup game during a match against Qatar last week.
Inaki Williams, who represents Ghana in the Qatar competition, and his younger brother, Nico Williams, who is playing for Spain, are the first entire siblings to participate in different countries. (Inaki Williams previously represented Spain, and the Williams brothers were born in Spain to a Ghanaian father and a Liberian mother.)
John Herdman, a Canadian coach who has previously managed the New Zealand women’s team at the World Cups in 2007 and 2011, is the first manager in World Cup history to have led both a men’s and a women’s squad at the games.
It was the first time in World Cup history that a host team lost their opening game when Qatar fell to Ecuador last week.