FIFA Women Referees
The distinction of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 grows by the day. After becoming the first edition of the tournament to be held during the winter season and in stadiums with cooling technology, this edition will also be the first to welcome the participation of female referees in the exceptional championship.
FIFA's selection of three female referees, as well as three female assistant referees to manage the matches of the World Cup finals in Qatar will be a historic and significant opportunity to demonstrate the development of women's football, especially at the refereeing level in the most prominent global football tournament.
Women's refereeing in the World Cup Qatar will be require to present its accreditation certificate in front of millions of football fans around the world, which will ensure its presence in the next editions.
The Italian Chairperson of the FIFA Referees Committee Pierluigi Collina said that the participation of six female referees for the first time in the World Cup is the result of the tireless efforts that started many years ago in order to include female referees in FIFA tournaments for male players.
Collina expressed his hope that the participation of female referees in the most prominent competitions will be normalized, pointing out that women have the right to participate in the World Cup, as they have constantly performed their roles at a remarkably high level, which is one of the most important factors for FIFA.
For his part, Vice-Chairperson of the FIFA Referees Committee Hani Ballan explained that selecting three female referees, as well as three other assistant referees among the list of referees that will run the World Cup, for the first time in history is an important historic event, pointing out the normality of this decision as a result of their efforts to be included in this global event, especially in light of the presence of one list that brings together both genders. The FIFA does not differentiate in the selection processes that are based on several criteria, the most important of which are quality and efficiency, he added.
In a statement, Ballan told Qatar News Agency (QNA) that selecting female referees to run the most prominent global sports event will be a historic opportunity for women to show the globe the extent of development that the women's football has reached, especially at the level of refereeing.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 finals will be held for the first time in the Arab world and the Middle East, from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18.
For his part, the former Egyptian international referee Gamal El-Ghandour said that the selection of six women referees in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is a natural matter, after the list of referees became unified bringing together both sexes, which made the FIFA Referees Committee choose women referees to participate in the event, especially since it does not differentiate between genders.
El-Ghandour said in a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA), that the presence of the female component in the men's World Cup will be an opportunity for them to achieve success and continuity in the upcoming editions, especially since the tournament receives great attention from FIFA and a huge follow-up from football lovers and fans.
He believed that assigning matches to women's referees during the World Cup in Qatar will be limited to the easy and less important matches in the group stage, in order to give them confidence in light of their first participation in such an event.
El-Ghandour stressed that the presence of the female component for the first time in the World Cup finals will increase the value of the exceptional World Cup in Qatar in everything, whether in its stadiums that feature cooling technology, or the tournament itself, which has taken into account the legacy and sustainability in all its facilities.
He expected FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to be a unique tournament, especially in light of the close stadiums that allow fans to watch more than one match per day, which will have a great momentum similar to the Olympic Games in light of the presence of all athletes in various games in one place.
The list of the six selected women referees includes France's Stephanie Frappart, Rwanda's Salima Mukansanga, Japan's Yoshimi Yamashita (field referee), Brazil's Noosa Pak, Mexico's Karen Diaz Medina, and American Kathryn Nesbitt (assistant referee).
Frappart, who has been international since 2011, is the most well-known and highly regarded among women's referees after managing the biggest women's tournaments, including the FIFA Women's World Cup finals.
In turn, the Frenchwoman is the first woman to referee the mens UEFA Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea in 2019, and the first woman to referee a UEFA Champions League match between Juventus and Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine in 2020, and the first woman to participate in the refereeing team in UEFA Euro 2020 match for men, where she was appointed as an assistant to Dutchman Danny Makele in the opening match between Turkey and Italy.
The 38-year-old was awarded the IFFHS World's Best Woman Referee award for a consecutive three years in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
For her part, Mukansanga was the first woman to officiate a match in the African Cup of Nations this year, which brought together the teams of Zimbabwe and Guinea, after she was the fourth referee for the match between Guinea and Malawi, and the first woman as the fourth referee to officiate a match in the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations between Egypt and Mali in 2019.
The 34-year-old Rwandan, who holds a nursing degree, has officiated matches in the recent Olympic Games (Tokyo 2020), the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France, the Africa Women Cup of Nations in Ghana 2018, and the CAF Women's Champions League in Egypt 2021.
Mukansanga , who played basketball before being tempted by refereeing, is the only woman to officiate matches in the Rwanda Premier League since 2010 until now.
In turn, Yamashita became the first woman to officiate a match in the history of the men's AFC Champions League, last April, when she, along with her compatriots officiated a match between Melbourne City of Australia and Jeonnam Dragons of South Korea.
The 35-year-old Japanese was also the first woman to officiate a match in the men's AFC Asian Cup in May 2019, when she, along with compatriots also officiated a match between Yangon United of Myanmar and NagaWorld of Cambodia.
Yamashita has participated in the management of the J.League matches, beginning in 2021, where her first match was between YSCC Yokohama and Tegevajaro Miyazaki.
The Japanese have been in many major women's tournaments in recent years, including the AFC Women's Asian Cup, the FIFA Women's World Cup, as well as the recent Tokyo Olympics.
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