The French Stephanie Frappart, the Rwandan Salima Mukasanga, and the Japanese Yoshimi Yamashita , along with the Brazilian assistants Neuza Back, Mexican Karen Díaz Medina, and the American Kathryn Nesbitt, will make history in Qatar 2022, as it will be the first time that there are referees in a men's World Cup, according to the list of referees announced by FIFA.
Frappart, 38 years old and international since 2011, is the most reputable and recognized collegiate**. After managing the biggest women's tournaments, including the World Cup finals, in 2019, she became the first woman in charge of refereeing the final of the men's Super Cup (Liverpool-Chelsea)**, and in 2020, she was the first to manage a Champions League match.
She was also the first female referee in a men's Euro match when she was appointed as an assistant to Dutchman Danny Makkelie in the Turkey-Italy tournament opener.
**Mukasanga was the first woman to manage an Africa Cup match this year (Zimbabwe-Guinea) **after being the fourth referee for the Guinea-Malawi match, and Yamashita managed the Melbourne City-Jeonnam Dragons match of the Asian Champions League in April.
" We are pleased to be able to count for the first time in the history of the World Cup with referees Stéphanie Frappart (France), Salima Mukansanga (Rwanda), and Yoshimi Yamashita (Japan), along with attendees Neuza Back (Brazil), Karen Díaz Medina (Mexico) and Kathryn Nesbitt (United States). These appointments culminate a long process that began several years ago with the appointment of female referees in FIFA's youth and senior men's tournaments," said Italian Pierluigi Collina, Chairman of the FIFA Referees Commission.
"In this sense, we will not tire of repeating that the important thing is quality and not gender," warned the former collegiate, who pointed out that he hopes that "in the future, the fact that there are elite referees in large male competitions will be understood as something normal and stop being news."
" **They deserve to be in the World Cup of the ** FIFA ** ** because their performance is consistently excellent, and that's the determining factor for us," Collina said.
MATEU, THE ONLY SPANIARD
In total, 36 referees, 69 assistants, and 24 members of the video referee team have been appointed by the FIFA Referees Commission.
**"As always, we have put quality before everything else, and the chosen referees have the highest level in the world," ** said Collina, president of the FIFA Referees Commission, who added that Russia "was very successful, among other things, for the excellence of refereeing" and that they will give "everything because it is even better in Qatar."
Among the main ones is the presence of three women and a single representative of the RFEF, the Valencian Antonio Mateu Lahoz, who will be assisted in the bands by Roberto Díaz and Pau Cebrián.
According to FIFA, the **'Heading to Qatar 2022' project ** began in 2019. They analyzed more than fifty referee trios as possible candidates, who were subjected to intense preparation.
"The pandemic affected our activities, especially in 2020 and early 2021. Luckily, the World Cup was still a long way off, and we had enough time to prepare the candidates. We have announced the names so far in advance because we want to work even more with the referees appointed to the FIFA World Cup and follow them up in the coming months. The message is clear: do not rest on your laurels. Keep striving and prepare very rigorously for the World Cup ," said Collina.
Swiss Massimo Busacca, director of FIFA's Refereeing Branch, said: "Thanks to an innovative monitoring and support program, FIFA referee instructors can monitor all referees even more closely and with greater intensity than before."
"It is a very important factor with which we hope to see considerable improvements and progress ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. In addition, there will be tailor-made programs, particularly in terms of health and fitness. Each referee will be monitored in the coming months, and a final evaluation of the technical, physical, and medical aspects will be made shortly before the tournament so that they are in the best conditions at the beginning of the World Cup," he said.
The **selected referees will participate in June and July in several seminars ** (Asunción, Madrid, and Doha), in which videos of real match situations will be reviewed and analyzed, and they will participate in practical training sessions with soccer players, which will be recorded so that participants receive immediate feedback from the instructors.
"The preparation is still standing or focused on protecting the players and the image of soccer, on providing it with coherence and homogeneity, on reading the game from the technical and tactical point of view, and understanding the diversity of mentalities between players and teams. We cannot avoid all mistakes, but we will do our best to limit them to a minimum," he said.
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