FIFA picks 6 female referees, assistants for men’s World Cup /



GENE­VA (AP) — Fe­male ref­er­ees will make World Cup his­to­ry this year by work­ing games at a ma­jor men’s tour­na­ment for the first time in Qatar.

Three fe­male ref­er­ees and three fe­male as­sis­tant ref­er­ees were an­nounced Thurs­day by FI­FA among 129 of­fi­cials se­lect­ed for World Cup du­ty, in­clud­ing one man who caused con­tro­ver­sy when ref­er­ee­ing a chaot­ic African Cup of Na­tions game in Jan­u­ary while suf­fer­ing with heat­stroke.

French ref­er­ee Stéphanie Frap­part al­ready worked men’s games in World Cup qual­i­fy­ing and the Cham­pi­ons League, af­ter han­dling the 2019 Women’s World Cup fi­nal. She al­so ref­er­eed the fi­nal of the men’s French Cup this month.

«As al­ways, the cri­te­ria we have used is ‘qual­i­ty first’ and the se­lect­ed match of­fi­cials rep­re­sent the high­est lev­el of ref­er­ee­ing world­wide,» said FI­FA Ref­er­ees Com­mit­tee chair­man Pier­lui­gi Col­li­na, who worked the 2002 World Cup fi­nal. «In this way, we clear­ly em­pha­size that it is qual­i­ty that counts for us and not gen­der.»

Sal­i­ma Mukansan­ga of Rwan­da and Yoshi­mi Ya­mashita of Japan are al­so on the list of 36 ref­er­ees prepar­ing for the 64 games at the tour­na­ment, which will be played from Nov. 21-Dec. 18.

The 69 as­sis­tant ref­er­ees in­clude Neuza Back of Brazil, Karen Díaz Med­i­na of Mex­i­co and Kathryn Nes­bitt of the Unit­ed States.

«I would hope that in the fu­ture the se­lec­tion of elite women’s match of­fi­cials for im­por­tant men’s com­pe­ti­tions will be per­ceived as some­thing nor­mal and no longer as sen­sa­tion­al,» Col­li­na said.

Among the male ref­er­ees is Jan­ny Sikazwe of Zam­bia, who blew the fi­nal whis­tle at an African Cup group match af­ter 85 min­utes and again 13 sec­onds be­fore the 90 min­utes were com­plete, with Mali lead­ing Tunisia 1-0.

About 30 min­utes af­ter the match, of­fi­cials or­dered the teams back on the field to restart play but Tunisia re­fused. The re­sult was lat­er rat­i­fied by the Con­fed­er­a­tion of African Foot­ball de­spite an of­fi­cial protest by Tunisia.

The match was played in heat and hu­mid­i­ty in Cameroon, and Sikazwe lat­er ex­plained he start­ed to be­come con­fused in the in­tense con­di­tions.

Sikazwe will be work­ing at his sec­ond World Cup af­ter han­dling two group games at the 2018 tour­na­ment in Rus­sia.

The ex­treme heat in Qatar led FI­FA to de­cide in 2015 to move the tour­na­ment to the cool­er months in the Gulf emi­rate.

FI­FA has picked 24 men to work on video re­views. The VAR sys­tem made its de­but in 2018.

FI­FA said 50 ref­er­ee-and-as­sis­tant trios be­gan prepar­ing in 2019 for World Cup du­ty, with the project af­fect­ed by lim­its on in­ter­na­tion­al trav­el dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic.

Two ref­er­ees were picked from each of Ar­genti­na, Brazil, Eng­land and France.

All the of­fi­cials — who were not al­lo­cat­ed in­to spe­cif­ic teams of three — face fu­ture tech­ni­cal, phys­i­cal and med­ical as­sess­ments this year, FI­FA said.

LINK ORIGINAL: The Trinidad Guardian