Stephanie Frappart will become the first woman to referee a men's World Cup match at the Costa Rica-Germany game on Thursday Dec. 1st. The 38-year-old Frenchwoman's team will be all female, with Brazilian Neuza Back and Mexican Karen Diaz Medina acting as assistant officials.
"We know the pressure", said Frappart before the tournament, "but I think we will not change ourselves. Be calm, focused, concentrate, and don't think too much about the media and everything, just be focused on the field."
Frappart also 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 became the first female official for a World Cup match when she was fourth official in the Poland-Mexico draw Nov. 22nd.
She was also the first woman to officiate a World Cup Qualifying match in March and a Champions League match two years ago.
Three out of thirty-six referees for the World Cup are female; Frappart is joined by Yamashita Yoshimi of Japan and Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda.
"I'm happy that I'm in a position capable of assuming [this] responsibility," said Yamashita. "Rather than feeling pressure, I'd like to make the best of this to raise my motivation."
Mukansanga also shared her excitement: "It's a privilege for me. I never dreamed of going to the Men's World Cup... No other girl continued [in the referee training camp]. It is a difficult thing because there were times when I was feeling discouraged."
"I want young girls to look at me and follow me because I, too, am here now because I took advice from people."
This Thursday, an all-female refereeing trio will take charge of a men’s @FIFAWorldCup match for the first time.
Stéphanie Frappart will be joined by assistants Neuza Back and Karen Diaz in overseeing @fedefutbolcrc against @DFB_Team.
History in the making! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/KusT7SOUn9
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) November 29, 2022
Out of the the 69 assistant referees, three are female: Back, Diaz Medina, and American Kathryn Nesbitt.
Fifa chief referee Pierluigi Collina has been adamant that the female referees "are here not because they are women, but because they are Fifa-selected match officials."
— NIWEMWIZA Anne Marie (@Annemwiza) November 24, 2022