Stéphanie Frappart at the World Cup: the best in her field – sport


There are good arguments that Stéphanie Frappart will have a normal evening in her life as a referee on Thursday. After all, the Frenchwoman has been refereeing football matches since she was 19 – for both men and women. First in France’s seventh division, from 2009 in the third division, then for ten years in Ligue 2 and finally, since 2019, also in France’s first division and in the cup, including the final, which – like a World Cup game – lasts 90 minutes and is played by 22 footballers according to the official rules.

It is rather due to the system that it is considered somewhat sensational that Frappart the game between Germany and Costa Rica will lead, becoming the first woman in the history of men’s World Championships. In fact, in the modern world of football there shouldn’t be anything special about a woman being responsible for a top-class football game. Especially not when they are the best in their field.

Frappart’s successes as a referee don’t end in France’s first division. She was used at the World and European Championships for women, at Olympic tournaments and finally also in the men’s Champions League, the Nations League and the World Cup qualification. In 2019 she led the Uefa Super Cup between Liverpool and Chelsea. In other words, there are few male referees in Qatar with a better reputation than Frappart.

Fifa is probably about putting together a team that is as female as possible

However, even in 2022 it is still true that a woman has to do a lot more to qualify for a men’s World Cup than a man. Three referees nominated the FIFA for the tournament, Frappart is now the first to act as boss, previously she was only assigned as fourth official, like Yoshimi Yamashita and Salima Mukansanga. The mission was overdue, the world association now chose a game that does not have to be exposed to the accusation of irrelevance.

Frappart is supported on the sidelines by Neuza Back and Karen Diaz, both female linesmen also making their World Championship debuts, which is unusual given that the male linesmen teams are usually from the same country. In this case, however, FIFA was probably also concerned with putting together a team that was as female as possible (fourth official is Said Martinez).

Frapparts use at the World Cup is possibly also the longed-for end of the sensations. After a woman was used in the world’s largest men’s tournament, that should be the contemporary norm. A success that Frappart or the former referee Bibiana Steinhaus-Webb have worked for decades as pioneers. And from which even men will benefit, like national coach Hansi Flick: Hopefully he will no longer have to answer unnecessary questions like whether he has concerns about the appointment of referees. Of course, Flick said he had “100 percent trust”.



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