Countdown to W/Cup 2022: Female referees set to make history

Yamashita Yoshimi,Stephanie Frappart and Salima Mukansanga

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By Eagle Eye Sports24

Following our promise to give you updates of all the happenings en route the FIFA World Cup in Qatar which is about 12 days to the start of the global football fiesta

.The  EAGLE EYE SPORTS24 will be previewing the female referees that will be officiating in this year’s World Cup.

The inclusion of the women referees is historic because since its inception the World Cup has not included female referees.

Women referees have been selected to officiate at the FIFA men’s World Cup for the first time in history. Here are the top things you need to know about Yamashita Yoshimi, Salima Mukansanga and Stephanie Frappart ahead of the tournament. 

Three referees are on the brink of history as they look set to officiate at the men’s football World Cup next month.

Yamashita Yoshimi, Salima Mukansanga and Stephanie Frappart have all been named among the 36 referees selected for the tournament that begins on November 20.

Action is set to conclude on December 18, and will be held in Qatar.

They will also be joined by Neuza Back of Brazil, Mexico’s Karen Diaz Medina and American Kathryn Nesbitt who are headed to the World Cup as three of 69 assistant referees.

A month before the tournament kick-off, here’s what you need to know about FIFA’s trailblazing officiating trio.

Yamashita Yoshimi

Japanese referee Yamashita Yomishi  is set to appear at a second consecutive World Cup after officiating the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.

She also took charge at the 2020 Olympic Games, held in 2021, in a game between the United States and Sweden.

But refereeing in Qatar won’t be the only time she has made history this year.

Yamashita was on the whistle for Melbourne City’s 2-1 win over Jeonnam Dragons in the AFC Champions League, and FC Tokyo’s 2-0 win over Kyoto Sanga in the J1 League – becoming the first female referee to do so.

The 36-year-old is relishing in the opportunity to be part of history, in spite of the pressures that come with it.

“There are hardly any female referees in the Middle East, so I would like to see that change, with the Qatar World Cup as the catalyst,” she said.

“The fact that women are officiating for the first time at a men’s World Cup is a sign to other people that women’s potential is always growing and that is something I also feel strongly about.”

Salima Mukansanga officiating at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic GamesSalima Mukansanga

Rwandan referee Salima Mukansanga has been officiating for FIFA since 2012.

But as a young girl, her dream was to play basketball professionally.

“I liked basketball and wanted to take it very seriously,” she told New Times.

“But access to basketball infrastructure was hard, that’s how I ended up in refereeing, which I have also never regretted.”

And that decision has led her to the 2019 Women’s World Cup, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and now Qatar.

Much like Yamashita, she also involved in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics last year.

Mukansanga is no stranger to the world stage, having also taken charge at the men’s Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.

When named as an official for the 2019 WWC, she said: “Officiating at the World Cup is every referee’s dream,” and for the trailblazing Rwandan, the dream continues next month.

Stephanie Frappart

French official Stephanie Frappart is arguably one of the most recognised names listed for the upcoming World Cup.

The 38-year-old has a career littered with firsts, and in Qatar she will continue to blaze a trail in her wake.

Frappart took the reigns in her first final in 2019 at the World Cup in France, and went on to officiate at the UEFA Super Cup final in the same year.

In 2020 she made waves in the refereeing world, writing her name in the history books by becoming the first woman to take charge of a men’s Champions League match. A year later, Frappart would lead the way as Atletico Madrid faced Chelsea in a second leg round of 16 tie in the women’s UCL.

Before being announced as part of the plans for Qatar, she also refereed the 2022 Coupe de France final.

Frappart’s conduct on the pitch speaks for itself, and has resulted in her winning IFFHS World’s Best Woman Referee award three years on the bounce from 2019.

The presence of women officials at the men’s World Cup next month will send a “strong” message, according to the Frenchwoman.

“It’s a strong sign from FIFA and the authorities to have women referees in that country,” she said, adding her hopes that this decision can “make things happen”.

Assistant referees at the World Cup

The trio will be joined by three more female officials as FIFA selects 69 assistant referees for the World Cup.

The aforementioned Back, Medina and Nesbitt will all write their names in the tournament’s folklore.

Each of them have had their different routes into the profession, but will share a unified history-making moment when they travel to Qatar.

Medina began her career in refereeing by pure chance, but believes it is a position that “makes you fall more and more in love every day [with football].”

USA’s Nesbitt started refereeing as a summer job, but up until the 2019 WWC was a professor of chemistry.

In 2020, she was named the MLS Assistant Referee of the Year – becoming the first woman to achieve such a feat.

“It has been an absolute honour to have people say that I’ve become a role model for women,” Nesbitt told FIFA.

37-year-old Back didn’t even realise that she had been selected in the 69-name list until she heard it in the press.

“It’s very cool, indescribable, it’s a moment of joy, of gratitude, and also a little sense of responsibility,” Back told the media.

Despite any outside pressures, all the ground-breaking officials selected for Qatar are relishing the opportunity to represent women referees in what could be a defining moment going forward.

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