Female referees will take charge of games at the Qatar World Cup

Detail of the Qatar 2022 World Cup logo during the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar qualifying match between Wales and Czech Republic on March 30, 2021 in Cardiff, United Kingdom.

Three female referees and three female assistant referees were included among 129 officials selected for World Cup duty by FIFA on Thursday.

Premier League officials Anthony Taylor and Michael Oliver are also on the list and will oversee games during the tournament that begins in November.

Stephanie Frappart

The 38-year-old has been on the FIFA international referees list since 2009, becoming the first female official of a Ligue 1 match in April 2019 for Amiens against Strasbourg.

Frappart was appointed to take charge of the 2019 Women's World Cup final between the United States and Holland and then the men's UEFA Super Cup match when Liverpool faced Chelsea in Istanbul during August.

In December 2020, she became the first woman to referee a men's UEFA Champions League game when she took charge of Juventus against Dynamo Kyiv.

She broke new ground again in March 2021 when officiating a men's World Cup qualifier between Holland and Latvia, then was also in charge for Northern Ireland's 4-1 win away to Lithuania in September that year.


Yoshimi Yamashita

Having officiated at the 2019 Women's World Cup, Yamashita also was a referee at the delayed 2020 Summer Olympics in her home nation.

During May 2021, Yamashita, 36, made history as the first female referee of a J League game at a third division fixture between YSCC Yokohama and Tegevajaro Miyazaki.

The 36-year-old took charge of matches at the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup and, in April, she became the first female referee of a AFC Champions League tie as Melbourne City beat South Korean side Jeonnam Dragons.


Salima Mukansanga

The 33-year-old became the first woman referee at the Africa Cup of Nations finals when in January she took charge of the group match between Zimbabwe and Guinea, which saw an all-female officiating team.

Mukansanga - who holds a bachelor's degree in Nursing and Midwifery from the University of Gitwe - was the referee for the final of 2016 Africa Women Cup of Nations between hosts Cameroon and Nigeria.

She also has experience from the CAF Women's Champions League and the 2019 Women's World Cup as well as the 2020 Olympics, when she took charge of Great Britain's 2-0 win over Chile in Sapporo.

French referee Stephanie Frappart has already worked high-profile men's games in World Cup qualifying and the Champions League, after handling the 2019 Women's World Cup final. 

She also refereed the final of the men's French Cup earlier this month.

'As always, the criteria we have used is "quality first" and the selected match officials represent the highest level of refereeing worldwide,' said FIFA referees committee chair Pierluigi Collina, who took charge of the 2002 World Cup final.

'In this way, we clearly emphasise that it is quality that counts for us and not gender.'

Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda and Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan are also on the list of 36 referees preparing for the 64 games at the tournament, which will conclude on December 18.

The 69 assistant referees include Neuza Back of Brazil, Karen Diaz Medina of Mexico and Kathryn Nesbitt of the United States.

'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,' Collina said.

Among the male referees is Janny Sikazwe of Zambia, who blew the final whistle at an African Cup of Nations group match earlier this year after 85 minutes and again 13 seconds before the 90 minutes were complete, with Mali leading Tunisia 1-0.

About 30 minutes after the match, officials ordered the teams back on the field to restart play but Tunisia refused. The result was later ratified by the Confederation of African Football despite an official protest by Tunisia.

The match was played in scorching heat and humidity in Cameroon, and Sikazwe later explained he started to become confused in the intense conditions.

Sikazwe will be working at his second World Cup after handling two group games at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

The extreme heat in Qatar led FIFA to decide in 2015 to move the tournament to the cooler months in the Gulf emirate.

FIFA has picked 24 men to work on video reviews. The VAR system made its debut in 2018.

FIFA said 50 referee-and-assistant trios began preparing in 2019 for World Cup duty, with the project affected by limits on international travel during the Covid pandemic.

Two referees were picked from each of Argentina, Brazil, England and France.

All the officials - who were not allocated into specific teams of three - face future technical, physical and medical assessments this year, FIFA said.

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