FIFA selects first-ever female referees for men’s World Cup

Written by on 20 May 2022

FIFA has selected female referees for the first time in the men’s World Cup. This will be the first time in the tournament’s 92-year history that the historic call up is set to take centre stage.

Stephanie Frappart from France, Salima Mukansanga from Rwanda and Japanese Yoshimi Yamashita will have the glorious chance to officiate during the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

Frappart oversaw 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 this month.

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 be played in November and December.The 69 assistant referees include Neuza Back of Brazil, Karen Díaz Medina of Mexico and Kathryn Nesbitt of the United States.

“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 chairman Pierluigi Collina, who oversaw the 2002 World Cup final. “In this way, we clearly emphasise that it is quality that counts for us and not gender.”

Among the referees preparing for the mega football tournament is the controversial official Janny Sikazwe. The Zambian will be joining the team en route to Qatar even though his rather questionable stint at the Africa Cup of Nations still raises eyebrows.

Sikazwe of Zambia, blew the final whistle at a group match 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 ratified by the Confederation of African Football despite an official protest by Tunisia. The gesture still remains one of the most bizarre occurrences of modern football.

Meanwhile, no Kenyan referees have been selected for the 2022 World Cup.. Kenyan referees are now conspicuously missing from a list of the selected match officials for the global tournament.

Peter Waweru, Mary Njoroge and Gilbert Cheruiyot have all been snubbed by FIFA as they announced today that 36 referees, 69 assistant referees and 24 video match officials (VMOs) to officiate the tournament set for 21 November to 18 December 2022.

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