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  • Writer's pictureAmy Kate - The Red Way

History to be made - First female to referee the UEFA Super Cup

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

These are exciting times. A woman has finally broken into men’s European Football. 

France's Stephanie Frappart will be the first female to take charge of a major UEFA men's competive match on August 14, 2019. Liverpool FC take on Chelsea FC at Istanbul's Vodafone Stadium in Turkey.

At 8pm tomorrow evening, history will be made in Istanbul's Vodaphone Park Stadium as France's Stephanie Frappart will officiate the match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC. Accompanying her will be female assistant referees Manuela Nicolosi (France), Michelle O’Neill (Ireland) as well as fourth official, Cüneyt Çakir (Turkey). Never before has a woman taken charge of a major UEFA men’s competitive match.

Stephanie becomes the first female to be selected as the lead official in what is the 44th edition of UEFA #SuperCup. The spotlight won’t just be on Champions of Europe, #LiverpoolFC, and Europa League winners, Chelsea. This appointment represents a monumental step forward in football equality. 

“I don’t think there’s a lot of difference, because football is the same. We are not afraid to take charge of the game,” said Stephanie.

Stephanie has a few other historic achievements under her belt, including the honour of being the first female to take charge in the men’s Ligue 1 in her native France. She was also appointed lead official in this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Final in Lyon between the United States and Netherlands when the US secured their fourth World Cup victory.

“It’s a great honour for me, and for female referees as well,” she said. “I hope it serves as an example to all female referees, and to any young girls who may aspire to be a referee.”

At the press conference earlier, Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp had referred to Frappart’s appointment as a “historic moment” while giving a thumbs up.

When Virgil Van Dijk, Liverpool's player of the season for 2019, was asked about the appointment of Frappart, he replied, “I think gender is irrelevant if the quality is there; and it is there, otherwise she wouldn’t have been appointed for this game. If you look at her CV, she did so many good games and they made the right decision. Gender doesn’t matter at all.”

This isn’t the first time the women have worked together; O’Neill and Nicolosi were also the assistant Referees in the aforementioned 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Turkish referee, Çakir, tomorrow's fourth and only male official for the game, said in support of the females that will take to the pitch tomorrow, “They are brave, they have courage and they don’t hesitate to make unpopular decisions - you will see tomorrow.”

As a Liverpool fan, I’m extremely excited for the match and the prospect of bringing home the first of, hopefully, many trophies this season. But it is as a woman where my heart is filled with pride, excitement and overwhelming joy. After all these years of playing, following and loving this sport, tomorrow marks a landmark day for the beautiful game I fell in love with at four years old. 

My mother always told me growing up, “Girls can do anything!” I just wish she was here to celebrate this moment with me.

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