An all-female referee team made soccer history tonight as they presided over the EUFA (Union of European Football Associations) Super Cup in Istanbul, Turkey, which involved two major U.K. soccer clubs, Liverpool and Chelsea.
The 35-year old French referee Stephanie Frappart, who was also the lead official in the Women’s World Cup Final this year, (which saw the U.S.A. regain the trophy), was accompanied by her compatriot line assistant Manuela Nicolosi, and the Republic of Ireland’s Michelle O’Neill, all of whom are experienced referees.
Frappart and her fellow professionals became the first female refereeing team to oversee a major men’s final.
The expectation of Frappart’s control of the game, which saw Liverpool win 5-4 on penalties after extra time was widely praised both beforehand and after the game by both team managers and supporters.
Liverpool manager, German, Jurgen Klopp said on Wednesday “I’m very happy we can be part of a historical moment…I will show my best face if possible – otherwise my mum will be angry! It’s the first one, it’s special, but I hope it’s not the last time.”
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said of the all-female refereeing team beforehand “It’s great news, great news. I am very pleased to be a part of this moment in history. It is very much due.”
Liverpool’s £70m defender Virgil Van Dijk said: ‘Gender is irrelevant and if the quality is there – and it is because she’s been appointed to this game for a reason – then that’s fine. I think she deserves this game.’
The match, which went, for the most part without any particular controversy was well controlled by Frappart, and saw her give only 2 bookings when she showed the yellow card to Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta for a foul on Sadio Mane.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson also went in the book for a foul on Chelsea’s Emerson.
Tonight’s episode was a ‘pitch-perfect’ (please excuse the pun) example from an all-female referee team, on why female referees will become an ordinary part of soccer going forward.
Well done girls!