Stephanie Frappart oversaw the final Group E match between Germany and Costa Rica at Qatar’s Al Bayt Stadium.
When Stephanie Frappart stepped onto the pitch of Al Bayt Stadium on Thursday, she became the first woman to referee a men’s World Cup match to complete a journey that began nearly 30 years ago in suburbs of Paris.
The 38-year-old Frenchwoman who oversaw action in the final Group E match between Germany and Costa Rica played between the ages of 10 and 13 in Herblay-sur-Seine before moving on to referee.
“I saw Steph running around the stadium, 12km [7.5 miles]two or three times a week to get to the level they are now on the pitch,” Philippe Calve, former president of FC Herblay-sur-Seine, told Reuters news agency on Thursday.
“If you want to referee men’s matches, you better be in top physical shape. And she did what she needed to get physically on top.
Frappart became the first woman to referee a French Ligue 1 match in 2019 and the first woman to officiate a men’s Champions League match in 2020. Last year, she became the first woman to direct a men’s World Cup qualifying match.
“I think I’ll keep everything around me in mind and the goal will remain the same, which is refereeing based on on-field performance,” Frappart said again in June, after being appointed as one of the arbitration. for the World Cup in Qatar.
“So I’m really going to start this with great emotion, but you have to redirect that because, obviously, what’s important is pitch.”
Frappart regularly donates to her old club and visits often.
“She was always humble. She can talk to anyone without thinking too much, from someone she meets in a bar, to someone on the street or just a child,” Calve said. “She hasn’t changed. Everyone who knows her knows that.”
Frappart is the pride of the town and an inspiration.
“For me, it’s a source of pride [that a woman referees at the men’s World Cup for the first time] and it’s a step forward for our rights, in allowing [women] Dominique Edeyer, the owner of the cafe in Herblay, told Reuters news agency.