Egypt welcomes first female referee in men’s football
Sarah Samir, an Egyptian football referee, became on Sunday (18 January) the first-ever female referee to officiate a men's football match in Egypt.
Samir was assigned by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) to officiate the Egyptian Football League’s third division encounter between Wadi Degla FC and Talaea El Gaish SC.
On social media a wave of positive reactions backed the EFA decision, calling on the football governing body to assign more female referees across all divisions of Egypt's football.
Some posts also reflected the public debate in the country, and region, around women's sporting rights, as the significance of Samir's debut goes beyond the football pitch. It defies Egypt's more conservative ideology that does not perceive well the involvement of women in sports, while paving the way for women to play a more important role in on of Egypt’s national sports.
In an statement Samir revealed not said she "faced no difficulties in refereeing the game, despite some ‘shock’ by players and attendees before the whistle blew and the game commenced" and added that she hoped to officiate more games in the future.
According to Samir another female assistant referee also helped in officiating the game.
There are currently 42 female in Egypt referees but this was the first time a men’s match was refereed by a woman.
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