IMAGE: Japan’s Yamashita Yoshimi, Frenchwoman Stephanie Frappart and Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga are the three female referees to be selected for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Photograph: FIFA World Cup/Twitter
There will be a strong female presence, a first at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The troika of Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga, Japan’s Yamashita Yoshimi and Frenchwoman Stephanie Frappart along with three female assistant referees will be the first women to officiate at the FIFA World Cup.
Brazil’s Neuza, Mexico’s Karen Díaz Medina and the United States’ Kathryn Nesbitt are among the pool of 69 assistants named for the football carnival.
FIFA announced in May that the trio of Mukansanga, Yoshimi and Frappart were among the 36 head referees appointed for the event.
All three head referees have experience in officiating men’s soccer.
Yamashita has officiated in Japan’s men’s league, the Asian Football Confederation Champions League and the Tokyo Olympics.
Mukasanga made history in January as the first woman to referee a contest in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Frappart has refereed World Cup men’s qualifying matches, the UEFA Champions League and the French Cup final. She also refereed the 2019 Women’s World Cup Final between the US women’s national team and The Netherlands.
Mukansanga said they have been chosen for the tournament in Qatar not simply based on their gender.
‘We are here because we deserve to be here. Back at our confederation, or back at home it is another level, so this is the biggest level of football,’ Mukansanga said.
‘So being here means we deserve to be here, it’s not a change or because we are women.’
Assistant Referee Nesbitt said they feel welcome: ‘We feel like we are one referee team here, no difference man or woman.’