France gets its first female top flight football referee

Stephanie Frappart has become the first female official in the French top tier after the Ligue 1 decided to give her the opportunity to oversee the match between Amiens and Strasbourg.

This 35 years old woman was part of Ligue 2, the second division of France football, last five years.

Besides the chance to officiate a Ligue 1 match, she will also referee at the women’s World Cup scheduled for June and July this year in France. She was the main referee at the under-20 World Cup finals last year, and she was also one of the officials in the 2015 women World Cup.

The FFF stated that this was a FIFA request with the goal of helping officials to prepare for the World Cup in the best conditions available.
Frappart herself said that she sees her appointment in a Ligue 1 match as a proof that she is competent for that job:

- I don't want to be given top billing or put in Ligue 1 just because I am a woman, added Frappart in her interview with AFP.

Before her, Bibiana Steinhaus was the first and only female ref to took charge of a match in one of the Europe’s top five leagues, when she officiated Bundesliga match between Hertha Berlin and Werder Bremen in 2017.

It remains to be seen will this be one of new trends and will Italian Serie A, English Premier League and Spanish La Liga follow, but so far it looks like female referees may slowly but surely dig their way up to the main football leagues, so it may be a matter of time until we have first woman ref to take charge of a Europa League or Champions League match, and eventually even the European championship or World cup.