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Stéphanie Frappart, first woman to referee a World Cup match

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Stéphanie Frappart has been appointed by Fifa as the main referee for the Germany-Costa Rica match on Thursday 1er December, and at 8 p.m. will become the first woman to lead a men’s World Cup match.

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She will be assisted by Neuza Back and Karen Diaz on the edges of the field, for a 100% female refereeing trio. A look back at the exceptional career of a pioneering woman in the world of football.

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A career decided at 13

Stéphanie Frappart made her debut as a player and referee at the Herblay club, where she announced, at the age of 13, that she wanted to become a referee to her coach, Claude Lenoir. “She was the last player I took home after games and on the way home she said to me in the car, ‘I want to be a referee. I will be a referee. remembers Claude Lenoir for “l’Equipe”.

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She began to referee amateur matches at the age of 19 and became a referee in the regional honor division, to the disappointment of her coaches at the time who would have liked to keep her on the pitch as a player, where she was already proving herself in the support from attackers.

16 km covered in the Supercup

During the European Super Cup final, which pitted Chelsea against Liverpool in August 2019, the French referee broke a record by covering 16.1 kilometers in 120 minutes. A distance unequaled in the more than 400 Champions League matches analyzed by UEFA.

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A feat that earned him the compliments of Jürgen Klopp: “ If we had played like she whistled, we would have won 6-0 “, declared the German coach of Liverpool in a press conference the day after the victory of his players, torn off on penalties.

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The woman of all firsts

In 2014, Stéphanie Frappart was the first central referee in a men’s Ligue 2 match, women having until then been confined to the position of assistants on second division pitches.

Five years later, Stéphanie Frappart becomes the first central referee of a Ligue 1 match, with the meeting between Amiens and Strasbourg. The same year, she refereed the European Super Cup final, becoming the first Frenchwoman to referee a European competition.

In 2020, she once again assumed her pioneering status by refereeing Juventus Turin against Dynamo kyiv in the men’s Champions League, the most prestigious of European competitions. She continues by becoming the first female referee of the Euro, in 2021.

On April 21, Stéphanie Frappart completed her “winning record” by refereeing the final of the Coupe de France, between Nantes and Nice. With a view to the World Cup in Qatar, she is, alongside Salima Mukansanga and Yoshimi Yamashita, one of the first three women to be selected among the main referees to officiate a match in the men’s world competition.

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Best referee in the world

In 2014, Stéphanie Frappart won the prize for best female referee at the UNFP trophies, considered the Cesars of football. She is also named the best referee in the world in 2019, 2020 and 2021 by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS).

His exceptional career and his worldwide reputation earned him the honorary distinction of Knight of the National Order of Merit in 2019.

She is also designated “personality who makes French football” by the newspaper “L’Equipe” in early 2021, alongside Kylian Mbappé, Zinédine Zidane and Didier Deschamps.

Model of a generation

The career of Stéphanie Frappart, whose beginnings are punctuated by sexist remarks in the stands and on the ground, opened the door to a feminization of arbitration in France. Between 2017 and 2020, the number of female referees on the pitch increased by 46%, from 798 to 1,167, according to figures from the French Football Federation (FFF).

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In 2020, the FFF implemented a professionalization plan for female referees. ” The objective is to increase our number of female referees by approximately 15% per year”, declared Alain Sars, deputy technical director of arbitration at the FFF, to the daily “Ouest France”.

When she was appointed among the main referees of the World Cup, Stéphanie Frappart declared to AFP that she wished ” arouse vocations among future young referees, aware of having ajar doors “. ” It is also a strong sign of the authorities to put women in this country. I am not a feminist spokesperson but if that can make things happen…”, added the French referee.

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