28th April 2019 will go down in the history of French football after Stephanie Frappart became the first woman to referee a match in France’s top division.
Frappart took charge of the Ligue 1 game between Amiens and Strasbourg on Sunday, becoming the first women to referee a top level professional match in France since the league was founded in 1932.
35-year-old Frappart has already refereed at second-tier level in France, and she was also selected as a referee for the women’s World Cup later this year.
“I was well-received by the directors, the players and the club, it was a good match,” Frappart commented after the game.
“I showed that I have the competence and the capabilities to be here at this level this evening and it was a good start for me. The players were welcoming and accepting. For me I prepared for it just like I would for any other game, physically and technically.”
The game between Amiens and Strasbourg finished 0-0. Frappart showed yellow cards to two Strasbourg players in the first half and cautioned one player from each side late in the second half.
In 2017 research figures showed that women’s football received only 2.1% of all print media coverage in France dedicated to football. The visibility of a high-profile female referee like Frappart refereeing a game at the highest level can only benefit the nation as it prepares to host the Women’s World Cup in June.
Frappart follows in the footsteps of German referee Bibiana Steinhaus, who became the first female to take charge of a match in Europe’s top five leagues.