Stephanie Frappart and team ‘not afraid’ to make history
Tonight’s Chelsea vs Liverpool UEFA Super Cup match will go down in history as the first one to have a team of female officials. Stephanie Frappart is to lead the all-female on-field referee team for the match. Frappart will be assisted by Italian official Manuela Nicolosi and Irish official Michelle O’Neill.
Frappart was given the opportunity to officiate the match after she brilliantly officiated the Women’s World Cup Final. However, the Super Cup match is not the first men’s football match that Frappart will be officiating. Post the Women’s World Cup, Frappart has officiated French League 1 matches.
Having officiated men’s football matches as well as the highly esteemed Women’s World Cup matches, Frappart stated that she did not feel any pressure ahead of the Super Cup match. Even though she claims that the appointment has been life-changing for her, she is “not afraid” to take on the challenge.
When it comes to refereeing, Frappart believes that on-field gender difference no longer exists. On-field, both a male and a female official have the same authority. Fitness exams and training allow all officials to be on the same level of performance. The appointment of female officials is not a case of minority hiring. The female officials have been appointed based purely on merit.
Both Chelsea and Liverpool’s managers, Frank Lampard and Jurgen Klopp respectively, have shown their support regarding the appointment. They believe that Frappart and her team will prove to be fair and fit officials. The Chairman of Referees’ Association in England, Paul Field, has stated that he is eager to see the officials break the glass ceiling.
The Wednesday match should usher in equal opportunities for women in the world of football officiating.
The UEFA Super Cup will be played at Besiktas Park in Istanbul, Turkey. Kickoff is scheduled at 20:00 BST. Check your local listings for TV coverage.