Stephanie Frappart of France will write her name in history books in the Group E match between Germany and Costa Rica after becoming the first woman to referee a match at the men’s World Cup.
Frappart became one of three female referees to be selected in the pool for the World Cup in May, along with Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga and Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan.
Brazil’s Neuza Back and Mexican Karen Diaz Medina are the other women officials for the Germany vs Costa Rica fixture.
It is the first time a men’s World Cup match will be led by an all-female refereeing team.
It is not Frappart’s first record. In 2021, she became the first woman to referee a men’s World Cup qualifying match when she took charge of the Netherlands vs Latvia game.
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In 2020, Frappart became the first female official in a men’s Champions League match when Juventus defeated Dynamo Kyiv 3-0 in the group stage. Stephanie also oversaw the UEFA Super Cup clash between Liverpool and Chelsea in 2019.
Frappart also refereed the women’s World Cup Final between the US and the Netherlands in the same year.
Mexico’s Karen Diaz Medina, who will assist Frappart, also has a reputable CV. She became the first woman referee to officiate in the second leg of the Liga MX Guard1anes 2020 final between Pumas and Leon.
Medina was also certified as a FIFA Assistant Referee in 2018 and served in many Concacaf tournaments, including the Women’s U-17 Championship in Managua, Nicaragua, the Scotiabank Concacaf League, and the Men’s Under-20 Championship in Bradenton, Florida. She was also part of the officiating team at the 2020 Women’s Olympic Qualifying in Houston, Texas.
Brazil’s Neuza Back, the other assistant referee in the match, played professional football before her refereeing career. Promoted to FIFA in 2014, Back was summoned by the CONMEBOL Referees Commission to officiate at the Copa América Femenina in Chile. The same year, she officiated at the 2018 CONMEBOL Libertadores Femenina.
In 2021, together with Edina Alves, Back was part of the first women’s trio in an adult male FIFA competition at the 2021 Qatar Club World Cup. She stood at the quarterfinals between Club Tigres and Ulsan Hyundai as a reserve assistant and served as an assistant in the match between Ulsan Hyundai and Al Duhail for the fifth-place match in the World Cup. That same year, she was selected for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In 2022, Back became a part of history after being selected as an assistant at the World Cup in Qatar. She was one of the six women to whistle at the World Cup for the first time.