For the first time in FIFA World Cup history, an all-female team refereed a men’s game, ending a 92-year wait.
France’s Stephanie Frappart, 38, made history on Thursday by becoming the first woman to take charge of a men’s World Cup finals game during Costa Rica’s Group E match against Germany.
Frappart was joined by women assistants Neuza Back from Brazil and Mexico’s Karen Diaz to referee the game held at the Al Bayt Stadium in Doha.
The Frenchwoman had played football in Herblay-sur-Seine between the age of 10 and 13 before deciding to pursue a career as a referee.
“I saw Steph run around the stadium, 12km [7.5 miles], two or three times a week to be at the level she is at now on the field,” Philippe Calve, the former president of FC Herblay-sur-Seine, told Reuters.
In 2019, Frappart officiated her first French Ligue 1 game, and in 2020 she officiated her first men’s Champions League game.
After being named as one of the referees for the World Cup in Qatar, she said: “I think I’ll have everything that’s around me in mind, and the aim will still be the same, that is the referee according to the performance on the pitch.”
“The men’s World Cup is the most important sporting competition in the world,” said Frappart, according to Reuters. “I was the first referee in France and in Europe, so I know how to deal with it.”
In a game between the Netherlands and Latvia last year, Frappart made history as the first female referee of a FIFA World Cup qualifier. This year, she officiated the final of the Coupe de France between Nice and Nantes.
The Frenchwoman, whose father inspired her love for football, has won the International Federation of Football History and Statistics’ World’s Best Woman Referee award three times (IFFHS).
Luis Fernando Suarez, manager of Costa Rica, praised Frappart’s accomplishment and called it a victory for women in a “sexist sport”.