First female referee to officiate Super Cup not afraid of intense spotlight

Stephanie Frappart said she will prove that female officials are as competent as their male counterparts when she becomes the first woman to referee a major UEFA competition final when Liverpool face Chelsea in the Super Cup on Wednesday.

Main referee Stephanie Frappart of France posing with the official match ball ahead of the UEFA Super Cup Final

Main referee Stephanie Frappart of France posing with the official match ball ahead of the UEFA Super Cup Final at Besiktas Park on August 13, 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey. EFE/EPA/UEFA via Getty Images / ALEX CAPARROS

Reuters | Ece Toksabay

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Frappart, 35, will be assisted by her French compatriot Manuela Nicolosi and Ireland's Michelle O'Neill.

The trio have worked together at bigger matches – they were in charge of this year's Women's World Cup final in France – but there is no doubt they will be under intense focus at Istanbul's Vodafone Park.

Asked if she was afraid of being "double criticised" for any mistakes made, Frappart said it was time for female referees to show they are as good as the men.

"We have to prove ourselves technically and physically that we are the same as the men. We are not afraid about (wrong decisions). We are ready," she told a news conference.

Frappart, who in April became the first female referee in France's Ligue 1, also dismissed the idea that it was more difficult to officiate a men's game.

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"I think there is not a lot difference because football is the same. It's the same rules so I will do the same as the women's game," she added.

The Super Cup is an annual match played between the winners of the Champions League and the Europa League. Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final last season while Chelsea defeated Arsenal in the Europa League final.

Fourth official and Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir supported the trio, saying: "They are brave, they have courage, they don't hesitate to give unpopular decisions - you will see tomorrow." 

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