Esther Staubli to become first woman referee to officiate in World Cup

Esther Staubli (Image credit-FIFA)

Kolkata: History will be made when Switzerland’s Esther Staubli steps out as the first female referee to officiate a match at the FIFA U-17 World Cup as Japan takes on New Caledonia in the final round group E match on October 14.

Staubli 38, is one of seven women referees invited to the U-17 World Cup in India where all the male and female match officials, nominated by FIFA’s Referees Committee, have completed theoretical sessions as well as seminars and other trainings in the classroom and also practical sessions in the field of play.

Such a move will give more experience and exposure to the lesser known female referees and moreover this is a part of FIFA’s objective to develop and promote women’s football.

“We think it’s time for elite female referees to be involved in a Fifa men’s competition. They worked together with male match officials last year and now we want to see them working together in a competition,” said Massimo Busacca, FIFA’s head of referees.

With the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup drawing near, Women’s referees would be given more matches to officiate and also learn from their male counterparts in the games.

“In having the opportunity to now work together with their male colleagues at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, FIFA’s female referees are one step further in their preparation and in their careers at the top level,” said an official, as quoted by the Times of India.

The programme to nominate or select female referees for men’s tournaments were first started by the FIFA Referees department in 2016 and it has come a long way in making better women referees. With the progress of time it has also pointed out that elite or top most female referees are ready to officiate a football match along with their male colleagues, which is set to be fulfilled comes October 14.

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