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For The First Time In History, The World Cup Featured An All-Women Referee Team

Three women referees from France, Brazil and Mexico have made history as the first all-women referee team to take charge of a men's World Cup match for the first time in 96 years.

Three women referees from France, Brazil and Mexico made history on Thursday Dec. 1 as the first all-women referee team to take charge of a men’s World Cup match for the first time in 96 years.

women referee team world cup stephanie frappart neuza back karen diaz medina
French referee Stephanie Frappart (C), Mexican assistant referee Karen Diaz (L) and Brazilian assistant referee Neuza Back warm up before the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Costa Rica and Germany at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on Dec. 1, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

France’s Stéphanie Frappart was appointed head referee, along with two assistant referees, Brazil’s Neuza Back and Mexico’s Karen Diaz Medina, to officiate the group stage game between Costa Rica and Germany.

qatar world cup stephanie frappart referee costa rica germany
Referee Stephanie Frappart (C) gives instructions during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Costa Rica and Germany at Al Bayt Stadium on Dec. 1, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar. (Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer – GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)

The US’ Kathyrn Nesbitt was also selected as the offside specialist.

Frappart, 38, already made history on Tuesday Nov. 29 when she became the first woman to officiate at a men’s World Cup as the fourth official during the Poland vs. Mexico Group C match.

stephanie frappart neuza back karen diaz medina world cup referee women
French referee Stephanie Frappart (C), Brazilian assistant referee Neuza Back (L) and Mexican assistant referee Karen Diaz officiate during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Costa Rica and Germany at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on Dec. 1, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Her accolades also include being the first women to referee a women’s World Cup final in 2019, a men’s Champions League match in 2020, and both the men’s World Cup qualifier and men’s French Cup final in 2021.

stephanie frappart woman referee qatar world cup
Germany’s forward Niclas Fuellkrug (R) waits for French referee Stephanie Frappart’s decision after he scored his team’s fourth goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Costa Rica and Germany at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on December 1, 2022. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

“We know the pressure,” Frappart told BBC Sport, “But I think we will not change ourselves. Be calm, focused, concentrate, and don’t think too much about the media and everything, just be focused on the field.”

qatar world cup women referee team stephanie frappart neuza back karen diaz medina
Referees Neuza Ines Back, Stephanie Frappart and Karen Diaz Medina walk off the pitch after the first half during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Costa Rica and Germany at Al Bayt Stadium on Dec. 1, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar. (Photo by Shaun Botterill – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

The significance of women referees at the World Cup marks a power statement, especially in a host nation where gender equality and women’s rights are limited.

stephanie frappart neuza back karen diaz medina referees women world cup qatar
Referees Neuza Ines Back, Stephanie Frappart and Karen Diaz Medina warm up prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Costa Rica and Germany at Al Bayt Stadium on Dec. 01, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Maddie Meyer – FIFA)

Many fans have taken to social media to celebrate the historic designations.

stephanie frappart neuza back karen diaz medina world cup referees women
Referees Neuza Ines Back, Stephanie Frappart and Karen Diaz Medina walk off the pitch after the first half during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Costa Rica and Germany at Al Bayt Stadium on Dec. 1, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar. (Photo by Hector Vivas – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

“For once I can applaud something FIFA does: the first female referee in a WC match!” one wrote. “It’s late, it’s not enough, should not hide the extent to which women are discriminated in football (as athletes but also in football governing bodies) but in itself it’s positive and powerful.”

Frappart is one of three women, including Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga and Japan’s Yamashita Yoshimi in the pool of 36 candidates on FIFA’s World Cup referee list this year.

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