According to one of the ladies chosen on Thursday (September 29, 2022), having three female referees at the World Cup in Qatar will be “a powerful sign.”
“It’s a strong sign from FIFA and the authorities to have women referees in that country. I’m not a feminist spokesperson, but if this can make things happen…” said trailblazing French referee Stephanie Frappart.
The 38-year-old is one of 36 referees selected for the November 20-December 18 tournament being staged in the conservative Gulf state.
Rwandan Salima Mukansanga and Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan are the other two women officials to be chosen.
Frappart agreed that “sport often plays a role” when asked about the decision to choose energy-rich Qatar to host the World Cup despite the country’s frequent criticism over its treatment of women and commitment to human rights.
“I am not the decision-maker of the host of the World Cup. The authorities have made their choice,” she said during a press briefing at the French national football centre.
“You are always aware when you are a woman in the country. I was there three to four weeks ago and I was well received.”
Frappart has set numerous landmarks in her career she was the first female referee to officiate the men’s UEFA Super Cup (August 2019), in the Champions League (December 2020) and in the French Cup final (May 2022).
Despite having an 80 percent expatriate population, Qatar has adopted a policy of “Qatarization” that includes giving women widespread access to higher education and the labor market.
In spite of this, women in the area are still bound to a male guardian, typically their father, brother, grandpa, uncle, or husband.
They need his authorisation to make a number of decisions such as getting married, studying or travelling abroad and taking up certain jobs.