Six women chosen to referee at men’s FIFA World Cup for the first time

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Six women chosen to referee at men’s FIFA World Cup for the first time

Female referees will make football history this year after being chosen by FIFA to officiate at a men’s World Cup for the first time.

Three centre referees and three assistant referees were announced on Thursday by the governing body for November’s tournament among 129 officials selected for Qatar.

French referee Stephanie Frappart has already worked men’s games in World Cup qualifying and the Champions League, after handling the 2019 Women’s World Cup final. She also refereed the final of the men’s French Cup this month between OGC Nice and FC Nantes.

“As always, the criteria we have used is ‘quality first’, and the selected match officials representing the highest level of refereeing worldwide,” FIFA referees committee chairman Pierluigi Collina, who worked the 2002 World Cup final, said.

“In this way, we clearly emphasise that it is quality that counts for us and not gender.”

Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga and Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan are also on the list of 36 referees preparing for the 64-game tournament, which will be played from November 21 to December 18.

A female referee wearing red gestures during a men's game
Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda became the first woman to referee a match at the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations in January.(Getty Images: Visionhaus)

The 69 assistant referees include Brazil’s Neuza Back, Karen Diaz Medina of Mexico, and American Kathryn Nesbitt.

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


FIFA has picked 24 men to work on video reviews. The VAR system made its debut in 2018.

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

A-League Men centre referee Chris Beath, assistants Ashley Beecham and Anton Shchetinin, and VAR official Shaun Evans will represent Australia in Qatar.

All the officials – who were not allocated into specific teams of three – face future technical, physical, and medical assessments this year, FIFA said.


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