Woman referee.
Women continue to gain a greater presence in football. Photo: Pixabay.

The women referees are still waiting for their moment to make history in Qatar 2022

Despite the fact that 6 women were chosen to lead in the Soccer World Cup, only two have made their debut.


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During first-round games between France against Australia and Mexico against Poland, FIFA World Cup history was made.

Both, Stephanie Frappart of France, and Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda, became the first women to officiate a game at the men's World Cup after being designated as fourth official for both matches.

Despite this historic moment, since it is the first time in the history of the men's World Cups in which women referees were invited to take part in the contest, the main body of world soccer, and the one in charge of appointing the referees, the FIFA, still does not dare to designate one of these talented women to take control as field judges in one of the games of this cup.

While from different sectors they criticize that the referees have not yet received their opportunity, alleging precisely the lack of freedoms for women in the organizing country, and the lack of commitment from FIFA, it is important to highlight the women who are in Qatar and who aspire to continue breaking the paradigms of this sport.

There were 129 referees called to be part of Qatar 2022, 6 of which are women. 3 will do so as field judges and the rest as assistants.

Head judges

1. Stephanie Frappart (38 years old): She participated in two World Cups, two Euro Cups and two Olympic Games in women's football. Since the 2019-2020 season she has regularly directed matches in the French men's league; she has accumulated 12 UEFA club competition matches (such as Real Madrid vs. Celtic in this Champions League) and also directed two UEFA Qualifying matches for Qatar 2022.

She transcended the media in 2019, by becoming the first woman in charge of refereeing the UEFA Men's Super Cup final between Liverpool-Chelsea.

2. Salima Mukasanga (34 years old): With a decade of experience, she was the first woman to officiate an African Cup match in 2022. She was also the first Rwandan to referee a match at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Previously, in 2019, she officiated the Soccer Women's World Cup that was held in France.

3. Yoshimi Yasmashita (36 years old): She was in the 2019 Women's World Cup and in the women's tournament at the Olympic Games last year. Likewise, she became the first woman to direct a match in the first division of the Japan League and the Asian Football Champions League. She shared the 2018 U-17 Women's World Cup, the 2018 AFC Women's Asian Cup, and the 2017 Algarve Cup. She is the one with the least international tour.

Assistant judges

4. Karen Díaz Medina (34 years old): The Mexican referee, the only Spanish-speaking representative, made her debut as a professional in refereeing in the 2009 season, although her turn in Liga MX only came until 2016. Since then, she has directed games at the highest level in this tournament. She was in three international national team championships (Central American Games Barranquilla 2018; Concacaf Sub 20 Premundial 2018 and Concacaf Sub 17 Premundial 2019), and since 2018 she is a FIFA international referee. The assistant had experience in Qatar in 2021, during two matches of the Arab Cup that took place there, and off the playing fields she is an industrial engineer.

5. Neuza Back (37 years old): She will be the only one that will represent all of South America. She had previously been chosen to be part of the referee delegation at the Tokyo Olympic Games and the 2020 FIFA World Cup. In 2019, the Brazilian was present at a Women's World Cup. Likewise, she had action in great Brazilian soccer competitions, such as in the first match of the 2020 Paulistão final between Corinthians and Palmeiras. For this reason, the São Paulo Football Federation considered her one of the “main active professionals in the country.”

6. Katryn Nesbitt (33 years old): The American has had a nine-year career as a referee. She debuted in 2013 in the NWSL and turned from it in 2015 to the MLS and since then she has not stopped growing. In 2020 she was part of matches such as the 2020 MLS Cup final between the Seattle Sounders and Columbus Crew, which she whistled and which led her to become a FIFA referee and recently in 2021 she made her debut in an official FIFA competition.


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