Female Officials to make History in Istanbul

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar August 14, 2019 19:59

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Female Officials to make History in Istanbul

By Satish Sekar in Istanbul © Satish Sekar (August 14th 2019)

Making History

Liverpool and Chelsea will contest the UEFA Supercup in Istanbul tonight. It will make history as Stéphanie Frappart will lead an all-female team of officials on the pitch – she will be assisted by Manuela Nicolosi and Michelle O’Neill.

Frappart has faced petty sexist comments on her way to the top, notably in a Ligue Deux match in 2015 from then Valenciennes coach, David le Frapper. His attempts to apologise after an outrageous comment were ignored by Frappart.

Frappart is unfazed by making history. “I think there is not a lot of difference because football is the same,” she said.

“It’s the same rules so I will do the same as the women’s game.”

Encouragement

All three recognised that they will be more visible now, and that will assist other female officials and encourage girls to follow their dreams.

“Personally, I am proud that young girls and kids are being inspired and that we are opening the pathway for kids to come up,” O’Neill said. “That is pretty special.”

Moved On

In 2011 football pundits Andy Gray and Richard Keys lost their jobs after making disparaging comments about assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis. She proved her ability and remains an assistant referee in the Premier League, as well as a mentor for up and coming referees, Yasmin Saeed and Melissa Burgin.

The popularity of the Women’s World Cup this summer and advances made by women in all areas of the game over the last few years has had a positive effect – one Frappart welcomes.

“Of course, my life has changed because I’m more popular around the world now,” Frappart said yesterday.

“It is not the first appointment to a big game for me so I know the meaning behind it.”

She refereed the Women’s World Cup Final in July.

Welcomed

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp welcomed the appointments.

“My answer would be: finally,” he said at yesterday’s press conference at Besiktas’ Stadium.

“I think it is time it happens. I have not a lot of experience with female referees.

“In Germany, Bibiana Steinhaus is doing them and it took a while until she was considered to be ready – not by the professionals, more by the referees.

“Now she is settled and that’s really good.”

He was pleased to be part of an important moment in football’s history.

“I am happy we can be part of that historical moment,” he said.

“I think there are still so many things in the world out there that we are obviously not smart enough to make the right decision, so it is a very, very smart decision that we can finally bring a woman to be the referee of a very, very important game – a big game in front of millions of people.”

UEFA’s Chief Refereeing Officer, Roberto Rosetti, had no qualms about the appointment of the women – it was his suggestion. Rosetti pointed out that Frappart had passed the fitness test for male referees. Rosetti’s career as a top flight referee ended two weeks after he had made a vital mistake in allowing an offside goal by Carlos Tévez for Argentina against México in the 2010 World Cup. VAR would have corrected that.

The 4th official will be Turkey’s best-known referee Cüneyt Cakir. He has no qualms about the women officiating.

“They are brave,” he said.

“They have courage. They don’t hesitate to give unpopular decisions – you will see tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, Klopp had more to say.

“We all, I am pretty sure – with all the emotions involved – will try to help tomorrow night and not to make it more difficult than a game is itself anyway,” Klopp told journalists yesterday.

“I will show my best face if possible, otherwise, my mum would be angry! “It’s the first one so maybe that makes it a bit more special, but I hope it’s not the last one; that’s all I can say.”

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar August 14, 2019 19:59