The world football governing body, FIFA, has taken a step higher in promoting gender balance with the round leather game – soccer.
The edition of the 2022 FIFA World Cup which is taking place for the first time in history in the Middle East is also the first time the organisers are allowing more female referees to officiate in a male competition.
The Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup has three centre referees chosen to officiate during the course of the tournament and three assistants.
Salima Mukansanga from Rwanda.
Mukansanga was notably first spotted during the last Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and she was commended for maintaining discipline through the game she officiated.
It’s a rare privilege for her to be on a global stage officiating.
“Not only proud, super proud and it’s a privilege and an honor being part of the history, and then we are part of people playing that history. It’s another level, it’s something really so excited”, she said Friday.
Her counterpart is from France, Stephanie Frappart. She officiated a couple of times during one of the UEFA games in Europe.
Frappart, who is appreciated in France for her diplomatic style as well as her firmness, insisted: “It is no longer about what gender you are. It is about your ability.”
While the third centre referee is Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita.
Yamashita reacting to her being selected said: “is a big responsibility but I am happy to have it”, adding that she “never imagined” being handed such an opportunity.
“I am going to do everything I can to make sure that what is emphasised is the beauty of the football. I am not interested in power or control,” Yamashita said in a recent interview with FIFA.com.
Also, their assistants include Neuza Back of Brazil, Mexico’s Karen Diaz Medina and Kathryn Nesbitt of the United States.