French Stephanie Frappar puts her mark on the history of the World Cup

French Stephanie Frappart entered history after becoming the first woman to lead a women’s refereeing team in a men’s soccer match in the World Cup competition, after she refereed the Costa Rica and Germany match Thursday in the Qatar World Cup competitions.

And nearly 92 years after the first World Cup match was held in Uruguay, a women’s crew led a decisive match in the group stage.

Frappart, 38, led the match with Noza Pac from Brazil and Karen Diaz Medina from Mexico.

The coaches of the two teams considered it a moment to “break barriers,” and German coach Hansi Flick said of Frappart’s appointment: “I think she deserves to be here because of her performance and achievements,” adding, “I trust her 100 percent.”

Luis Fernando Suarez, the coach of Costa Rica, said the same thing during his pre-match press conference.

Frappart told French reporters that she considered her selection as chief referee a “surprise”.

A native of Le Plessis-Bouchard, a remote town in the far north of the Paris region, she officiated her first match in 2003 at the age of 19 – a women’s match between FC Henin-Beaumont and FC La Roche-sur-Yon. Within two decades, she captained the Women’s World Cup final.

Since then, she has moved up the ladder, taking home awards. In 2014, she became the first woman to serve as the main referee during a Ligue 2 men’s match. She then refereed matches in League 1 for men, during international friendlies and in the UEFA Champions League.

On August 14, 2019, Frappart also became the first woman to referee the UEFA Super Cup between Chelsea and Liverpool. After the match, Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool coach, praised her performance.

Frappart led the Women’s World Cup final in 2019, when the United States beat the Netherlands.

Pierluigi Collina, the head of the FIFA Referees Committee and known for his toughness with his colleagues, paid tribute to Frappart. “I hope that there will be more Frapparts in the future and that this will no longer constitute a strange or news story,” Collina told the Italian press in 2021. At the Globe Soccer Awards in 2019, Frappart won the Best Referee Award and Collina handed her the trophy.

Frappart told French reporters that she “knows” that her presence at the tournament will “inspire”. But she prefers to let her whistle do the talking.

“I don’t want to be judged differently not because of my gender but because of my refereeing skills,” she said.

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