The French referee Stéphanie Frappart will lead the first all-female officiating team for a men’s World Cup match when she takes charge of Costa Rica v Germany.
Frappart, who will be the first woman to referee a men’s World Cup match, will be joined by the assistant referees Neuza Back of Brazil and Mexico’s Karen Díaz Medina for the crucial Group E game on Thursday, Fifa announced on Tuesday.
The 38-year-old will mark another milestone in her career at the Al Bayt Stadium, having refereed a men’s World Cup qualifier in March, a men’s Champions League game in 2020, the 2019 UEFA Super Cup final and matches in Ligue 1.
Frappart featured as the fourth official during Mexico’s goalless draw with Poland in Group C. Two other referees – Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga and Yamashita Yoshimi of Japan – were also included in Fifa’s pool of World Cup officials. Along with Back and Díaz Medina, the US official Kathryn Nesbitt was also called up as an assistant.
For the managers involved, Fifa’s decision to appoint an all-female refereeing team is welcome. As Costa Rica’s manager, Luis Fernando Suárez, put it: “I am a great admirer of everything women have conquered. And I like that they want to keep conquering things. And this is another step forward, especially in this sport, which is a very sexist one. I like it. I think it is a situation that is good for football.”
Germany’s manager, Hansi Flick, took a similarly positive view when asked if he had any issues with Frappart’s appointment. “ I trust her 100%,” he replied. “I think she deserves to be here due to her performance and achievements. I hope she is looking forward to this and I think she will perform very well.”
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.