Stephanie Frappart becomes first female referee to officiate World Cup game

The 38-year-old Frenchwoman will be joined by Brazilian Neuza Back and Mexican Karen Diaz as assistants
Stephanie Frappart becomes first female referee to officiate World Cup game

Thomson Reuters

Stephanie Frappart, Neuza Back and Karen Diaz will become the first all-female refereeing team for a men's World Cup match as they have been named to take charge of the Costa Rica vs Germany Group E match on Thursday.

Frappart, the fourth official for the Poland-Mexico Group C clash last week, will be the main referee as she reaches another milestone after being the first female to officiate at a men's World Cup qualifier in March and Champions League match in 2020.

The 38-year-old Frenchwoman will be joined by Brazilian Neuza and Mexican Diaz as assistants.

Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda and Yamashita Yoshimi of Japan are also taking part at the tournament in Qatar

Frappart's appointment as match referee for Thursday's crunch World Cup clash between Germany and Costa Rica is a step forward for women in a "sexist sport", according to Costa Rica manager Luis Fernando Suarez.

Suarez said it "spoke volumes" for Frappart's commitment to reach the top level in a profession dominated by men.

"I am a great admirer of everything women have conquered, and I like the fact they want to keep on conquering things," the 62-year-old Colombian told reporters.

"This is another step forward. This speaks volumes for this woman, of her commitment, especially in this sport which is a very sexist one. It's very difficult to reach the point that she has reached, I think it's good for football and a positive step for football, to show that it's opening up for everyone."

Last week, she became the first female official at a men's World Cup when she was fourth official for the Poland v Mexico Group C tie, but on Thursday she will be more in the spotlight.

Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges also welcomed her appointment for such a high-profile game.

"I think it's great, and it's a huge achievement for women globally," Borges, who is playing in his third World Cup for the Costa Ricans, told reporters.

"If she is there it's because she has all the capabilities to perform on this stage. She has done it before in big matches, so I don't see why tomorrow should be an exception.

"I just hope she has a good match and that we can help her make it an easy match."

Her appointment was also backed by Germany manager Hansi Flick who said he had "100 per cent confidence" in Frappart.

"She deserves to be here based on her performance. I hope she is equally looking forward to the game just like we are, and I hope she can deliver a good performance," he said.

Germany defender Lukas Klostermann also welcomed the move, which he described as "the most normal thing in the game."

"I have never looked prior to the game if it is a man or a woman that will be with the whistle, and I hope it will remain a normality," he said.

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