It’s a good sign to see women referees at the Men’s World Cup – Frappart
Having women referees at the World Cup helps send a positive signal for women’s rights in Qatar, says Stephanie Frappart.
The 38-year-old Frenchwoman will become the first woman to referee a men’s World Cup in Thursday’s group match between Costa Rica and Germany.
Frappart will be joined by assistant referees, Brazil’s Neuza Back and Mexican Karen Diaz Medina, in an all-female refereeing team on the field at Al Bayt Stadium.
She is one of three women officials selected to take part in the tournament, the first time this has happened at a men’s World Cup.
Rwandan Salima Mukansanga and Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita are the other two referees to be selected.
“We know there are some difficulties for women there,” said Frappart.
“But I think and I hope this World Cup will help them.
“I have always been made welcome [in Qatar], so no problem. I’m not afraid to go there, but I hope this World Cup will help them in the future.”
The Gulf state, which follows strict Muslim laws, has been widely criticized for its ban on same-sex relationships and its treatment of migrant workers.
The human rights organization Amnesty International has said that women and LGBTQ+ people “continue to face discrimination in law and practice”.
England women’s captain Leah Williamson said she had “no interest” in watching the tournament and team-mate Beth Mead said it was “disappointing” that the World Cup would be held in Qatar.
However, Frappart said she couldn’t turn down the opportunity to serve at a men’s World Cup.
“If you’re selected for the World Cup, how can we say we won’t go?” added Frappart.
“The men’s World Cup is the most important competition in the world, and not just in football.”
A total of 36 referees have been selected for the 2022 World Cup.
Frappart became the first female referee to officiate a Ligue 1 game in 2019 and a men’s Champions League game in 2020.
She also became the first woman to officiate the French Cup final in the summer and also broke new ground when she officiated at the men’s Euro 2020.
Looking ahead to the tournament, she said: “There’s always pressure in games. And as a woman, there’s even more pressure because it’s always new.
“We know the pressure. But I don’t think we’re going to change – be calm, focus, concentrate. And don’t think about the media and all and focus on the field.”
Frappart knows from previous experience that she and her other colleagues are well equipped to take the pressure.
“We know there are many expectations, we know that every game is more important, but we also have experience in our competition,” she added.
“I’ve made a lot of high-impact games, so with all that experience we’ll be ready for the games.”
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