World Cup 2022. « I never thought of refereeing men’s matches »: who is Yoshimi Yamashita?

A first in the history of the FIFA World Cup, women have been selected to referee the men’s matches. Their names are Stéphanie Frappart (France), Yoshimi Yamashita (Japan), and Salima Mukansanga (Rwanda) and they will mark the history of this World Cup by integrating the panel of 36 international referees selected for the event. Japan’s first female professional referee, Yoshimi Yamashita, 36, will travel to Qatar on November 20: “To be honest, I was surprised at first when I heard the news. But now that I have realized, I am aware that I am being given the opportunity to live this dream. I am overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude and appreciation. »

A dazzling career

Born in Tokyo, Yoshimi Yamashita officially became an international referee in 2015. To her credit, many championships in Asia but also a selection for the Women’s World Cup in France in 2019, then at the Tokyo Olympics where she had refereed the match Sweden – United States. In 2021, she is the first woman to referee in the Japan League. Last April, she was also the first woman to referee in the Asian Champions League. In Qatar, she will also be Japan’s only official on a team of 129 referees and assistants. “I feel a great responsibility both as a Japanese and as a woman, she explains. I think it’s a strong symbol, she acknowledges. An opportunity for women to show our potential. » If the “female footballers are more and more numerous”she believes that« we must continue to expand the teams, increase women’s competitions « .

Yoshimi Yamashita’s first football memories date back to very early childhood. “I was 4 years old when I started to get interested in football, she says. I…

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