She has climbed all levels, from amateurs in men, to professional women up to Ligue 1 football and even the Champions League. Stéphane Frappart will become this Thursday evening the first woman to officiate in a World Cup match. It will be during the match Costa Rica – Germany.
The arbiter of the great firsts
Stéphane Frappart is the woman of great firsts. The one who started by playing football at AS Herblay in the 95 (Val-d’Oise) chose very early to become a referee. A way to combine his passion, football, and try to afford a professional future. And what a future! She proves herself quickly. At 19, she started officiating in the amateur categories up to the honor division. This small woman of 1.64 m is respected on the ground. And she shines with her talent: in 2003 she was called to referee her first match for the Elite women. She continued her career as a referee with women until holding the whistle in a final, the final of the Women’s Challenge de France (which has since become the Coupe de France) in 2011.
Her performances did not go unnoticed and Stéphanie Frappart was named best female referee in 2014 on the occasion of the UNFP football trophy. That year, the referee shattered the glass ceiling that hitherto hit women referees by becoming the first central referee to officiate in a professional match for men. It was in Ligue 2.
Entrance to men
Stéphanie Frappart’s career then naturally took her to the World Cup, but for women, in 2015, then to the Olympic Games, still for the women’s tournament, or to the European Women’s Championship. Now an international referee, she is gaining ground. Until officer – again the first woman to be appointed at this level – in Ligue 1 football, among men. It was in 2019, during an Amiens – Strasbourg match. Until then, women had had to content themselves with holding the flag, only officiating as line referees. Her match was a success and she was officially promoted to Ligue 1 referee. Very quickly, she was given responsibility for the biggest Ligue 1 matches: she refereed PSG, OM, Monaco…
His journey is far from over: the French international referee was soon appointed to referee Europa League matches, then the Champions League, but also international matches for men. She participates in particular, it is also a first, in the 2020 European Championship which sees the victory of Italy. All that’s missing then is a World Cup.
The holy grail in Qatar
This year, the referee necessarily hoped for it, and got it: she was selected to participate in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Three women have been called up for the tournament, out of the 36 designated referees. Until now, they have officiated only on the sidelines, in particular as a fourth referee. But tonight, Thursday 1 December, Stéphanie Frappart will become the first woman to whistle a World Cup match in the decisive match Costa Rica – Germany. Definitely a pioneer.
And the rest of his tournament? It does not depend only on her: the qualification of France will remove opportunities to continue the adventure for the French referee. For the sake of partiality, the referees of a nation still qualified cannot referee matches which could designate the future adversary of their country (nor referee their own country). Conclusion: if France goes all the way, Stéphanie Frappart’s adventure will end, whether or not she performs this Thursday evening. If, on the other hand, it shines while our Blues collapse in the 1/8th final, the tricolor referee can dream of going a little further still. Where no woman has ever been.