First female referee at FIFA World Cup
Stéphanie Frappart is the first woman to referee a Men's World Cup match this Thursday between Costa Rica and Germany, the “most normal” situation in the world, says German defender and right-back Lukas Klostermann.
The French is one of the three women selected among the thirty-six field referees of this World Cup with the Rwandan Salima Mukansanga and the Japanese Yoshimi Yamashita. She was chosen to officiate as the main referee for the match between Germany and Costa Rica.
And as a nod to history, it is a meeting of the German selection which will be the first match refereed in the Men's World Cup by a woman, while the German Bibiana Steinhaus was a pioneer in her country, first female referee in a major European men's championship between 2017 and 2021.
“I don't think it will have any influence on the match. She has already refereed a few matches in the Champions League and performed very well. She has earned her place and I wish her good luck,” explained German right-back Lukas Klostermann at a press conference on Wednesday.
“For me, it's the most normal situation in the world, I never looked before the match if it was refereed by a woman or a man. I hope it's normal and it will stay that way,” Klostermann continued.
“I trust him 100%. I am of the opinion that she deserved her place by her performances. I'm looking forward to this match and I hope she's happy too,” said German coach Hansi Flick.
A “macho sport”
The tone is identical on the Costa Rican side. “I deeply admire what women have accomplished. This is one more step and it seems important to me. It underlines what the women have accomplished, their determination, wanting to do more things in a sport that is very macho,” explained coach Luis Fernando Suarez.
At 38, refereeing a match in the Mondial-2022 is for Stéphanie Frappart the logical continuation of a meteoric rise in her career.
First female referee in the French second division (2014), then in the men's Ligue 1 (2019), in the Supercup of Europe (August 2019), in the Champions League (December 2020) and in the Coupe de France final (May 7), she will continue to write history on Thursday at the al-Bayt stadium.
“I am very moved, because it was not necessarily expected. A World Cup is the pinnacle, the biggest competition in the world. So I'm honored to participate,” she explained in September, when the referees selected for the World Cup were announced.
In Qatar, she has already officiated as fourth referee for two matches of the group stage: Mexico-Poland and Portugal-Ghana.