I know I’m a role model but I’m not pushing women too much, says Stephanie Frappart


At the beginning of December, Stephanie Frappart made football history. As she stepped out to take charge of Juventus’ match against Dynamo Kyiv, she became the first woman to referee a men’s Champions League game.

The Frenchwoman’s name was all over the world’s media, inspiring young girls everywhere, but Frappart was oblivious. In her own words, she lives in a bubble.

“I have no social media,” Frappart told BBC Sport.

“I never read newspapers about me. I make my bubble. I know that in football everybody speaks about referees and performance.

“I still ignore everything. I prefer it like this.”

It is not the first time Frappart has etched her name in football’s history books.

She was the first woman to take charge of a men’s match in a major Uefa competition when Liverpool and Chelsea met in the 2019 Super Cup.

That year, the 37-year-old also refereed the Women’s World Cup final between the United States and the Netherlands, and has refereed French Ligue 1 games since 2019.

Frappart officiating the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup final.

Frappart, who started playing football aged 10, oversaw her first Europa League game in October when Leicester City hosted Zorya Luhansk and says refereeing at the men’s World Cup in 2022 would be a “bonus”.

Frappart officiating a Champions League match.

Her presence in such high-profile games is bound to inspire young girls watching to follow in her footsteps and Frappart says this would be “a great pleasure”.

“I know that I am a role model,” Frappart added.

“Young women are watching TV, so I know that if I am here on the field they can see that it’s possible. This is the first thing that will help some young girls to start refereeing.

“I know that I have a role in that, but I am not pushing women too much because they will continue by themselves and they will decide if they want to be a referee or not.”

BBC Sports

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