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All-female referee team set to make history at FIFA World Cup tonight

All selected match officials, said FIFA earlier this year, represent the highest level of refereeing worldwide (Image courtesy: Twitter/@FifaWorldCup)

History will be made tonight as an all-female refereeing trio takes charge for the first time at a men’s FIFA World Cup in the match between Costa Rica and Germany on Thursday.

Referee Stephanie Frappart from France will be joined by assistants Neuza Back from Brazil and Karen Díaz Medina from Mexico to oversee the crucial game at Qatar’s Al Bayt Stadium.

It is for the first time in the history of the FIFA World Cup that the FIFA Referees Committee has appointed three women’s referees and three women’s assistant referees.

38-year-old Frappart, who becomes the first woman in the history of the World Cup to referee a finals match in the men’s tournament, was also the first woman to referee a Ligue 1 and UEFA Champions League game.

“The men’s World Cup is the most important sporting competition in the world. I was the first referee in France and in Europe, so I know how to deal with it,” she told the international governing body of football.

Besides Frappart, Back and Medina, Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga, Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan and Kathryn Nesbitt from the USA are among the 36 referees and 69 assistant referees selected for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

All selected match officials, said FIFA earlier this year, represent the highest level of refereeing worldwide.

“This concludes a long process that began several years ago with the deployment of female referees at FIFA men’s junior and senior tournaments. In this way, we clearly emphasise that it is quality that counts for us and not gender,” said chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee Pierluigi Collina.

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