Who Is Stéphanie Frappart? French Official to Make History as First Female Referee in a Men's World Cup Match in Germany vs Costa Rica Clash

Frappart has her name written all over the record books, with her achievements including a whole variety of impressive firsts.

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French referee Stéphanie Frappart will create history by becoming the first woman to officiate a men's World Cup match when she takes charge of Germany vs. Costa Rica on Thursday in Qatar. She will also lead the first all-female officiating team for a men's World Cup match, in what is the latest trailblazing moment of her stellar career.

Frappart will be joined by assistant referees Neuza Back of Brazil and Mexico's Karen Díaz Medina for the crucial Group E game on Thursday, Fifa announced on Tuesday. Frappart, 38, already has had a significant impact on female officials all over the world throughout her career.

Making History

Stéphanie Frappart
Stéphanie Frappart Wikimedia Commons

Frappart already made history after she became the first female official for a men's World Cup game when she served as the fourth official for Mexico vs. Poland's goalless draw on Tuesday.

Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda and Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan are two of the three female referees FIFA named on its roster of 36 for the competition, which will also include Qatar. The 69 assistant referees also include three women: Kathryn Nesbitt from the United States, Diaz Medina, and Back.

Frappart had earlier officiated as a referee in a men's World Cup qualifier in March, a men's Champions League game in 2020, the 2019 UEFA Super Cup final and matches in Ligue 1. Before the competition started, Frappart expressed her hope that having female referees in Qatar would "make things happen" on a broader level.

"It's a strong sign from Fifa and the authorities to have women referees in that country," she said.

"The men's World Cup is the most important competition in the world, not only football," She told the Athletic.

FIFA World Cup trophy
FIFA World Cup Twitter

"But I was the first female referee in France, the first in Europe, every time the first. I know how to deal with that."

Crucial Match to Officiate

The historic occasion comes in a game that is crucial for both teams since a win for Germany would keep their World Cup hopes alive. If Spain defeats Japan in the other Group E match, Costa Rica will be able to advance to the knockout stages with just one point.

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Frappart has her name written all over the record books, with her achievements including a whole variety of impressive firsts. She has officiated men's matches in the Champions League, World Cup qualifying, and this year's French Cup final. She oversaw the 2019 Women's World Cup championship match for FIFA.

Frappart began her career as a referee in the French third level in 2011, and three years later she advanced to Ligue 2, being the first female to do so. The Frenchwoman was then selected to officiate the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada alongside a full roster of female officials.

Before being re-called for the Women's World Cup in 2019, Frappart became the first female referee in Ligue 1. By doing this, this to become the first female official in a men's Champions League match before becoming the first female referee to take charge of a men's European match.

She was then chosen to officiate the 2022 Coupe de France Final, where Nantes defeated Nice 1-0 at the Stade de France in May.

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This article was first published on November 30, 2022
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