4 minutes read

History in the making: Women Referees To Officiate Matches At The World Cup

The World Cup will have female referees for the first time in history, according to a recent announcement by FIFA.

The announcement, which comes in response to complaints that FIFA has not been doing enough to support women in football, is a huge step forward in fighting for gender equality.

Why were there no female referees at the men’s World Cup?

It’s been a question that’s been asked for years: why are there no female referees at the men’s World Cup? The answer is a bit complicated.

First and foremost, it’s important to note that there are female referees at the World Cup. Just not at the men’s World Cup. FIFA, the organization that governs international soccer, has always used only male referees for men’s matches and only female referees for women’s matches.

The reasoning behind this policy is twofold. First, FIFA believed that having male and female officials in separate matches helps to avoid any potential biases that might come into play if they were officiating mixed-gender games. Second, FIFA feels that having all-male or all-female teams of officials helps to create a more level playing field between the sexes in what is still an unequal sport regarding gender representation.

While these may seem like good intentions, the reality is that this policy effectively shuts out half of the world’s population from ever being able to officiate at the highest level of the sport. And given that women have been shown to be just as capable as men when it comes to refereeing soccer matches (if not more so), there’s no good reason for this exclusionary policy to continue.

How were the women referees selected?

The selection process for women referees is similar to that of their male counterparts. FIFA appoints a Referees’ Committee responsible for selecting officials for the World Cup. This Committee is made up of representatives from each of the six football confederations, as well as members of FIFA’s refereeing department.

The criteria for selection are based on ability, fitness and experience. For the World Cup, FIFA requires that referees have officiated at least 25 international matches, including 15 ‘A’ internationals. They must also be currently active in their home country’s top domestic league and have been assessed by FIFA as physically fit to perform their duties at the World Cup.

FIFA publishes a list of eligible referees 18 months before the World Cup. From this list, the Referees’ Committee selects the group of officials who will referee at the tournament.

The six women selected and going to Qatar are centre referees Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan, Stephanie Frappart of France and Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda and assistant referees Nesbitt, Karen Díaz Medina of Mexico and Neuza Back of Brazil.

What will change with women referees on the field?

The answer to this question largely depends on whom you ask. Some people believe that having female referees at the World Cup will change the way the game is officiated, while others believe that the game will remain largely unchanged.

One of the main arguments for why female referees will change the game is that they will be more lenient with players. This is based on the stereotype that women are more emotional and compassionate than men. While this may be true for some women, it is not necessarily true for all women. Many female referees are just as strict as their male counterparts.

Another argument for how female referees will change the game is that they will bring a different perspective to officiating. This is because women have typically been underrepresented in positions of authority in society. As a result, they may see things differently than men and call penalties differently, which could lead to a more balanced and fair game overall.

Of course, there are also those who believe that having female referees at the World Cup will not change the game much at all. They argue that regardless of gender, good officials are good officials, and therefore, if a woman is a good referee, she will officiate the game well, just like a man would. Moreover, they contend that most of the differences between men and women are due to cultural factors rather than inherent biological ones. As such, they believe that these cultural factors can be overcome with training and experience.

Looking to the future

The decision to allow women referees to officiate matches at the World Cup is a huge step forward for gender equality in sports. For too long, women have been sidelined in the world of refereeing, but this move will help level the playing field. We can’t wait to see how these female referees perform on the biggest stage in football, and we hope their success will inspire more young girls to take up refereeing.

Editor's pick