Doha: The Qatar World Cup will witness all-three refereeing women for the first time in the history of the FIFA tournament on Thursday. The Germany-Costa Rica match will have referee Stephanie Frappart on the ground assisted by Neuza Back and Karen Diaz on the sidelines.  

Yamashita Yoshimi, Salima Mukansanga and Stephanie Frappart are among the 36 referees assigned for the Qatar World Cup.  Neuza Back of Brazil, Mexico’s Karen Diaz Medina and American Kathryn Nesbitt are among the 69 assistant referees assigned for the tournament.  

Stephanie Frappart is arguably one of the most appreciated names among female referees. She made history by refereeing the men’s champions league match in 2020 and French Cup final in 2022. For her outstanding performance on the pitch, the IFFHS honoured her with the Best Woman Referee award three consecutive times since 2019. Frappart has already officiated a match in the tournament as the fourth referee and she believes her refereeing in the tournament would send strong messages as it is taking place in Qatar.      

FIFA has taken a long time and followed all the official criteria to select female referees for the tournament. Pierluigi Collina, Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, has cleared the intention that the female officials have been selected based on their performances in various tournaments. The criteria we have used is ‘quality first and the selected match officials represent the highest level of refereeing worldwide, he said.

FIFA deployed female referees in men’s junior and senior tournaments as an experiment. They have cleared that it was quality that counts not gender by having a stringent process of selecting both male and female officials for the tournament.   

“I would hope that in the future, the selection of elite women’s match officials for important men’s competitions will be perceived as something normal and no longer as sensational. They deserve to be at the FIFA World Cup because they constantly perform at a really high level, and that’s the important factor for us,” Collina added.