KAMPALA: Female referees have been selected to officiate at a men’s World Cup finals for the first time.
Stephanie Frappart of France, Salima Mukansanga from Rwanda and Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan have been included on FIFA’s official list of 36 referees for the tournament in Qatar later this year.
Three women are also on the list of 69 assistant referees – Neuza Back from Brazil, Karen Diaz Medina from Mexico and Kathryn Nesbitt from the United States.
“This concludes a long process that began several years ago with the deployment of female referees at FIFA men’s junior and senior tournaments,” the chairman of FIFA’s referees’ committee Pierluigi Collina said.
“In this way, we clearly emphasise that it is quality that counts for us and not gender. I would hope that in the future, the selection of elite women’s match officials for important men’s competitions will be perceived as something normal and no longer as sensational.
“They deserve to be at the FIFA World Cup because they constantly perform at a really high level, and that’s the important factor for us.”
Frappart has refereed in the men’s Champions League and the 2019 Super Cup match between Liverpool and Chelsea.
English referees Michael Oliver and Anthony Taylor have also been selected.
The pair took charge of matches at Euro 2020, with Taylor receiving huge praise after his swift response to Denmark’s Christian Eriksen suffering a cardiac arrest in the group match against Finland.
Discussions are understood to still be ongoing over the use of semi-automated offside technology at the finals.
The technology was tested at the Club World Cup earlier this year and the Arab Cup last year.
FIFA has named 24 video assistant referees (VARs) for the finals, none of whom are British.