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Female Referees Of FIFA World Cup 2022

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One other highlight of the FIFA World Cup 2022 is that it created history after selecting a handful of women referees to officiate the World Cup matches for the first time. It’s actually quite a bigger deal than it sounds as the host nation is traditionally hesitant to putting women’s rights ahead.

The big names are Yamashita Yoshimi of Japan, Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda, and Stephanie Frappart from France. They are among the 36 official referees that will see the disciplinary conduct in the winter footballing event.

The aforesaid names will also have the company of three additional female referees albeit on the assistant side. They are Neuza Back of Brazil, Karen Diaz Medina of Mexico, and Kathryn Nesbitt of the USA.

Read a bit more about the female referees to feature in this world cup. Also, read what makes them so special and why FIFA particularly went with them.

Yamashita Yoshimi

Qatar will be Yoshimi’s second World Cup but first in men’s. The 36-year-old Japanese previously officiated the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France which was also her debut in FIFA’s quadrennial event. The other international footballing tournament where she has overseen the field discipline was the game between the USA and Sweden at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Japanese FIFA woman referee, Yamashita Yoshimi, also the official referee for the FIFA world cup 2022
Tokyo-born Japanese referee, Yamashita Yoshimi, is also one of the official referees for the FIFA World Cup 2022.

While the first female official in men’s FIFA competition, this isn’t the first time she has made history. She is also the first woman referee to be on the whistle of one of the games of the AFC Champions League, men of course.

Salima Mukansanga

Active as a FIFA referee since 2012, Rwandan citizen, Mukansanga originally wanted to play basketball and go professional. However, for her access to the game was hard and she ultimately opted for refereeing. Having realized commanding the players was the most important job, Mukansanga at 15 headed straight into refereeing.

Rwandan born one of the women FIFA referees, Salima Mukansanga.
2022 Africa Cup Of Nations woman referee, Salima Mukansanga.

She started from local Rwandan leagues and now has been mostly deciding for several important tournaments around the world.

Mukansanga has also been on the whistle for the 2019 Women’s World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Earlier this year, she also oversaw some matches of the men’s Africa Cup of Nations.

Stephanie Frappart

Frappart is perhaps the more heard-of name or the face than the aforesaid two female referees. For years, she has been one of France’s top referees.

She also probably has the most number of firsts as a woman official.

Frappart refereed in the 2019 Women’s World Cup final in France and whistled for the UEFA Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea the same year.

2019 Women Champions League Final referee, Stephanie Frappart. (1)
French referee for the FIFA World Cup 2022, Stephanie Frappart.

The following year, she became the first woman to referee a men’s Champions League match (taking over the whistle for Juventus vs Dynamo Kyiv).

Earlier, in 2022, she also took charge as the rules of conduct supervisor for the Coupe de France final.

She additionally has some honors as well. Frappart is the winner of three IFFHS World’s Best Woman Referees. She won all of them in consecutive fashion starting in 2019.

The Other Three Female Assistant Referees

As mentioned, the three head female referees will also have three more women officials however they will be handling the job from both sides. They are Brazil’s Nueza Ines Back, Kathryn Nesbitt (the US), and Karen Diaz Medina (Mexico).

Much like the on-field head referees in the headers above, the assistant women referees, too, have headlines and stories of their own.

Nueza Back became viral in Feb 2021 after a Qatari Royal appeared to refuse the handshake with her alongside another female referee, Edina Alves Batista.

The American official, Nesbitt in her past days was an analytical chemist who studied brain chemicals during her college years. To grab the opportunity of becoming the FIFA referee, Nesbitt quit her job as a professor and researcher at Towson University near Baltimore, Maryland. In addition to disciplining players in the 2019 Women’s World Cup, in France, Nesbitt has dozens of MLS games on her resume.

Karen of Mexico, who got her FIFA Assistant Referee certification in 2018, has served in many CONCACAF tournaments. She also ran the sidelines during the 2020 Women’s Olympics Qualifying in Houston, Texas.

Despite the gender differences, all the women match deciders are put through the same fitness tests and same performance standards as their male counterparts.

In total, there will be 129 match officials in the world cup 2022 out of whom, 36 will be on the field, 69 on the sides, and 24 inspecting the situations from the videos.

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