Stéphanie Frappart, the best referee in the world, will direct the Germany-Spain

Germany-Spain, one of the best duels in the group stage of the European Championship in England, will not only have the best players on the pitch.

12 July 2022 Tuesday 13:11
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Stéphanie Frappart, the best referee in the world, will direct the Germany-Spain

Germany-Spain, one of the best duels in the group stage of the European Championship in England, will not only have the best players on the pitch. It will also be directed by the best referee in the world, the Frenchwoman Stéphanie Frappart, who will be in charge of adjudicating justice in the transcendental duel between the Germans and the Spanish on Tuesday (9pm) in Brentford.

To speak of Stéphanie Frappart is to speak of a true legend of women's refereeing. This 38-year-old Frenchwoman has spent her entire life glued to whistling and breaking down barriers. Since in 2014 she became the first woman to lead a match in Ligue 2, the French second division, Frappart has not stopped gaining ground and next winter she will be at the World Cup in Qatar.

"I want to referee in the First Division because of my skills, not because I am a woman," she told L'Equipe at the time. Today, almost a decade later, not only has she fulfilled her dream, but she has also become the highest reference in arbitration. She has been an international since 2011, she has been named the best referee in the world by IFFHS, an award that she has been winning continuously since 2019.

In the last season, she has officiated 17 Ligue 1 matches, which she began to officiate in 2019, an Amiens-Strasbourg in which she made history by becoming the first woman to referee in this category. She has also been the first referee in a Champions League match (A Juventus-Dinamo kyiv in 2020) and she officiated the 2019 Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea.

A career full of first times that Frappart hopes will serve to inspire new generations: “One of my goals is to raise vocations for girls to start refereeing. It's something I want to do because I've started to crack the doors open." The French woman acknowledges that her career has put her in the public sphere and that she is even recognized on the street: “They speak to me with some frequency, always with a good disposition. I have never had any problems,” she assured. Yes, the French second division had them in its beginnings. In 2015, a controversy with the Valenciennes coach, David Le Frapper, was very famous, after he did not award a penalty in their favor: "It is difficult for a woman to referee in a men's sport," said the coach in some unfortunate statements that They were condemned all over the world.

His career in professional football began a year earlier, in 2014, the same year in which Corinne Diacre, the current French coach, came to the Clermont bench to become the first female coach of a professional men's club. After five years in the silver category, Frappart made the leap to Ligue 1 and from there to the Champions League. Last summer, she became the first female referee at a men's European Championship by serving as an assistant in the opening match between Turkey and Italy.

Her refereeing is a perfect combination of “serenity and confidence”, as she describes herself. “The players have always appreciated me, in all the categories that I have refereed. My journey speaks for me, it is my best guarantee”, she assures. Those responsible for French arbitration highlight her ability to sacrifice and describe her way of refereeing as follows: "She whistles fairly, controls matches cleanly, respecting players and coaches, but when necessary she makes herself respected."

Frappart is one of the collegiate that defends that different physical tests should not be carried out for men and women: "Following Mbappé at 37 per hour is not easy", he jokes before seriously adding: "The demands have to be the same, footballers are not going to run any less waiting for a female referee". The Frenchwoman assures that she is not "a feminist from head to toe", but she is "favorable to the recognition of qualities and skills. Space must be given to women in relation to their qualities, although they must be given the opportunity to demonstrate them".

After the Women's Euro Cup that is taking place in England until July 31, the next new challenge for Stéphanie Frappart will be the Men's World Cup in Qatar. For the first time in history, this football event will feature several women in the refereeing body. In addition to Frappart, Salima Mukansanga (Rwanda) and Yoshimi Yamashita (Japan) will be the three women who will be part of the body of 36 main referees that there will be. A new opportunity to continue making history and opening doors to the next generations of referees.



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