The choice of three female referees for the World Cup finals is in many ways an important statement on gender equality.
But the fact that it will take place in a country where women rank second – probably third or fourth behind camel riders and Rolls owners – is of even greater significance.
It tells presidents, parliaments, voters, and cowardly misogynists alike that women win the battle for full rights in a place where they are denied them.
Fifa is right on at least one crucial policy. Far beyond equality in our sport, there must be some chance that one of the three will be chosen to officiate the final itself.
This is far from being achieved when it comes to gender equality in football or in a large number of sports. But even in the last few days the revolution has been thriving, from rugby league to rugby union, in boxing and others, international women’s sports have attracted large audiences on television.
Many men no longer shudder at body-crushing tackles in the midst of a multitude of attacking women – although I have to admit I occasionally feel a jolt and wonder how they cover up the bruises and black eyes.
What has impressed so many of us is the sportsmanship and friendly behavior of the footballers.
The quality of the game is also constantly improving. We’ve all seen how searing goals, bouncing headers, athletic movement and control have become commonplace while vicious fouling is an absolute rarity.
Women can sometimes be mischievous, but not villainous.
All in all, even with better vocabulary, they behave like good professionals.
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Perhaps being respectful of authority is part of our make-up and I’m sure the umpires will respond strongly to harsh tongues on the field.
Your greatest test will be ignoring the smartass and loudmouths in the crowd who abuse you.
Though I’ve had my share of it, I shudder at the thought of some dirty chants that seem inevitable. But I live in hope that respect will prevail.
There’s no good reason why women will be worse umpires as long as they can keep their cool under pressure, an ability I admire in our current umpires.
The FA appear cautious about introducing female referees into men’s games. Once they have proven themselves capable and fearless around angry men or hostile crowds, the vast majority of fans will appreciate their skills and professional approach.
Nor should they be appointed simply because they are women. There’s a bit too much of that on TV.
I found it a bit odd that last season the BBC asked two women to do the draw for a round of the men’s FA Cup. It wouldn’t be fair if two men drew lots for the women, would it?
Fifa wasn’t that pretentious. French referee Stephanie Frappart is just 5ft 3in tall but players should be aware that she won’t fear 6ft breakers or others as she ensures justice on the pitch – as it should .
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6712884/female-refs-world-cup-qatar/ Female referees at the 2022 World Cup are a giant leap for the women’s world, especially in Qatar where they are fourth-class citizens