The Qatar World Cup will kick off on November 20.
Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita, France’s Stephanie Frappart, and Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga are set to make history, becoming the first women to referee a men’s World Cup.
Qatar’s World Cup will be the first of several things as the trio will captain and officiate the month-long tournament in a gathering of 36 head referees at football’s biggest stage.
Joined by assistant referees, Neuza Back of Brazil, Mexico’s Karen Díaz Medina, and Kathryn Nesbitt from the United States, the transition marks an end to the tournament’s 92-year history which has never seen any female referees participate on the pitches.
According to FIFA’s Head of Refereeing Pierluigi Collina the appointment of the female officials was made because of their quality as referees and not their gender.
“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,” said the former referee.
“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.
“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,” Collina also added.
Yamashita, named in May to debut as a head referee in Qatar, has also officiated at the 2019 Women’s World Cup and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The J1 League, one of the most successful leagues in Asian club football, introduced Yamashita to the pitches as she became the first woman to referee the matches as well as in the Asian Champions League.
France’s Frappart has also made similar breakthroughs as she refereed the 2019 Women’s World Cup final and became the first female official of a Ligue 1 game. In addition to her several high-profile matches, she was the first to referee a men’s World Cup qualifier last year.
Mukansanga became the first woman to officiate at Cameroon’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. The 33-year-old climbed the ladders of success by officiating the Tokyo Olympics, U17 Women’s World Cup, and the 2019 France Women’s World Cup.
Mukansanga will also become the first female African to officiate this year’s World Cup.
36 referees, 69 assistant referees, and 24 video match officials have been chosen in close cooperation with the six football confederations and have been prepared in several seminars – one of which was recently held in Doha.
This year’s FIFA World Cup 2022 this year will bring the tournament to the Middle East for the first time in its history. Kick off will occur on 20 November at the Al Bayt Stadium.