Super Cup final to be refereed by a woman for the first time

Stephanie Frappart will referee and Ireland’s Michelle O’Neill will be her assistant referee

 Stephanie Frappart awards a penalty in the Women’s World Cup final. Photograph: Reuters

Stephanie Frappart awards a penalty in the Women’s World Cup final. Photograph: Reuters

 

Stephanie Frappart will become the first woman to referee a major European men’s game when she takes charge of the Uefa Super Cup between Liverpool and Chelsea in Istanbul on August 14th.

The French official will be joined by the two female assistant referees who worked with her in last month’s Women’s World Cup final: compatriot Manuela Nicolosi and Ireland’s Michelle O’Neill.

The Enniscorthy woman also officiated at the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup and spoke to The Irish Times in June. You can read that interview here.

Michelle O’Neill (right) warms up with match referee Stephanie Frappart (centre) and Manuela Nicolosi (left) prior to the Women’s World Cup football final between the USA and the Netherlands. Photograph: Getty Images
Michelle O’Neill (right) warms up with match referee Stephanie Frappart (centre) and Manuela Nicolosi (left) prior to the Women’s World Cup football final between the USA and the Netherlands. Photograph: Getty Images

The 35-year-old Frappart became the first female to referee a Ligue 1 match in April, when she officiated a game between Amiens and Strasbourg, and she has been promoted to the elite pool of referees for French top-flight games for the new season.

But she is not the first woman to be assigned to a competitive men’s match by Uefa, as Switzerland’s Nicole Petignat refereed three Uefa Cup qualifying round games between 2004 and 2009.

In a statement, Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin said: “As an organisation, we place the utmost importance on the development of women’s football in all areas.

“I hope the skill and devotion that Stephanie has shown throughout her career to reach this level will provide inspiration to millions of girls and women around Europe and show them there should be no barriers in order to reach one’s dream.”

Uefa chief refereeing officer Roberto Rosetti added that Frappart “fully deserves” her chance on this stage and said he hopes “this match will provide her with yet more experience as she enters the prime of her refereeing career”.

The three women on the pitch at Besiktas Park will be backed by an all-male supporting cast, with Turkey’s Cuneyt Cakir acting as fourth official and Frenchman Clement Turpin leading the VAR unit.

First played in 1972, the Super Cup was originally played between the winners of the previous season’s European Cup/Champions League and the holders of the Cup Winners’ Cup. But after the latter was discontinued in 1999, the Uefa/Europa League winners have taken part.

Liverpool have played in five Super Cups, winning three, with the last triumph coming in 2005, while Chelsea have been in three Super Cups, winning just once in 1998. This will be the first all-English Super Cup.

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