The FIFA 2022 Men’s World Cup will see one positive — albeit highly belated — milestone. Germany vs Costa Rica on Thursday will mark the first time a woman has officiated a match at the men’s edition of the tournament.
Stéphanie Frappart of France will serve as referee and lead an all-woman team with assistants Neuza Back of Brazil and Karen Díaz Medina of Mexico, via The Guardian:
Before the tournament began, 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.
Frappart has already been on the sidelines at this World Cup, and was the fourth official in Portugal vs Ghana last week.
Frappart also has the distinction of being the first woman to officiate a men’s World Cup qualifying match in 2021 — a Netherlands win over Latvia on that occasion. She has also officiated in the men’s UEFA Champions League.
Joining Frappart in the referee pool at this tournament are Salima Muksanger of Rwanda and Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan.
Mukansanger made her mark at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations and was the first woman to referee at a top men’s footballing competition. Yamashita was the fourth official for Wales vs England this week and had previously broken the same ground in the men’s J-League and AFC Champions League.
Big cheers to all of these trailblazers!