Qatar 2022 has created a string of competition firsts, as the FIFA World Cup switched from a summer tournament to a winter schedule in a major shift from tradition.
The tournament also marks the first World Cup held in the Middle East, and despite major criticism over FIFA’s decision to select Qatar as hosts, it has broken new ground in the Arab state.
In one more, welcomed, change the final round of group-stage matches will also see a move towards greater inclusivity and representation in football, as Stephanie Frappart takes charge of Costa Rica vs Germany on December 1.
French referee Frappart becomes the first woman to referee a men’s World Cup game, alongside an all-female officiating team — in another tournament first — as FIFA aims to break down an important barrier.
Who is Stephanie Frappart?
Frappart rose through the ranks of football refereeing in her native France, taking charge of Ligue 2 games and the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015 and 2019, before officiating the final of the latter, between the USA and the Netherlands.
From 2019 onwards, Frappart moved into Ligue 1, as the first female to referee games in the top flight of men’s French football. She was appointed by UEFA to the 2019 European Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea.
History is set to be made on Thursday! 🤩
There will be an all-female refereeing trio taking charge for the first time at a men’s #FIFAWorldCup in the match between Costa Rica and Germany.
Referee Stéphanie Frappart will be joined by assistants Neuza Back and Karen Diaz. 👏 pic.twitter.com/fgHfh2DICK
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 30, 2022
Her rise has continued steadily since then, with a first men’s UEFA Champions League game in December 2020, and a first FIFA World Cup qualifier in March 2021.
She was selected by FIFA for Qatar 2022, and Costa Rica v Germany at the Al Bayt Stadium will be her tournament debut as a referee, having operated as a fourth official in earlier matches.
Is Stephanie Frappert the only female referee at Qatar 2022?
FIFA appointed six female match officials for Qatar 2022, including three referees; Frappert, Salima Mukansanga and Yoshimi Yamashita, from Rwanda and Japan respectively.
Mukansanga was the fourth official for France’s 4-1 win over Australia with Yamashita named as fourth official for Belgium’s 2-0 defeat against Morocco
Alongside the three referees, the three female assistant officials are Neuza Back (Brazil), Karen Diaz Medina (Mexico) and Kathryn Nesbitt (USA), with Back and Diaz named as Froppart’s refereeing team for the Costa Rica vs Germany game.
All six officials are making their men’s World Cup debut in Qatar.
MORE: Germany vs Costa Rica TV, live stream and kickoff details
Have female referees officiated at a men’s World Cup before?
Frappert and her colleagues are the first female officials to take to the field at a men’s World Cup tournament, with Chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee Pierluigi Collina confirming the historical step ahead of the tournament.
“We are very happy that with Stephanie Frappart from France, Salima Mukansanga from Rwanda and Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan, as well as assistant referees Neuza Back from Brazil, Karen Díaz Medina from Mexico and Kathryn Nesbitt from the USA, we have been able to call up female match officials for the first time in the history of a FIFA World Cup.
“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.
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. — Pierluigi Collina on the appointment of an all-female team of World Cup officials
“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.”
However, there have been crucial milestones passed in female refereeing in men’s football recent years, with Frappert frequently the catalyst.
Women’s refereeing milestones
- First Woman to referee a UEFA Champions League match: Stephanie Frappert, Juventus vs Dynamo Kiev (Dec. 2, 2020)
- First Woman to referee a FIFA World Cup qualifier: Stephanie Frappert, Netherlands vs Latvia (March 27, 2021)
- First Woman to referee an FA Cup Third Round match: Rebecca Welch, Birmingham City vs Plymouth Argyle (January 8, 2022)
Have female referees officiated other major sporting events?
Frappert’s continued rise has set a new benchmark in football, but there has also been a key shift in the NFL in the last 12 months.
Sarah Thomas was appointed as referee for the 2021 Super Bowl, between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs, in a historical first for the NFL.
Thomas rose up the NFL referee ladder, from line judge in 2015, to down judge and head linesman, and on to full referee in 2021.
List of World Cup referees 2022
All six of FIFA’s continental federations will feature at the World Cup, including 33 referees from 29 countries, to take charge of the tournament’s 64 matches.
OFC do not have a national side at the 2022 World Cup but they have New Zealand official Matthew Conger flying the continental flag.
Here is the full list of referees for the World Cup 2022:
- Ivan Barton (Slovenia
- Chris Beath (Australia)
- Raphael Claus (Brazil)
- Matthew Conger (New Zealand)
- Ismail Elfath (United States)
- Mario Escobar (Guatemala)
- Alireza Faghani (Iran)
- Stephanie Frappart (France)
- Bakary Gassama (Gambia)
- Mustapha Ghorbal (Algeria)
- Victor Gomes (South Africa)
- Istvan Kovacs (Romania)
- Ning Ma (China)
- Danny Makkelie (Netherlands)
- Szymon Marciniak (Poland)
- Antonio Mateu (Spain)
- Andres Matias Matonte Cabrera (Uruguay)
- Mohammed Abdulla Mohammed (UAE)
- Salima Mukansanga (Rwanda)
- Maguette N’Diaye (Senegal)
- Michael Oliver (England)
- Daniele Orsato (Italy)
- Kevin Ortega (Peru)
- Cesar Ramos (Mexico)
- Fernando Rapallini (Argentina)
- Wilton Sampaio (Brazil)
- Daniel Siebert (Germany)
- Janny Sikazwe (Zambia)
- Anthony Taylor (England)
- Facundo Tello (Argentina)
- Clement Turpin (France)
- Jesus Valenzuela (Venezuela)
- Yoshimi Yamashita (Japan)