HAVING female referees at the World Cup helps send a positive message over women’s rights in Qatar, says Stephanie Frappart.
The 38-year-old Frenchwoman will be the first woman to referee at a men’s World Cup in Thursday’s group-stage game between Costa Rica and Germany.
Frappart will be joined by assistant referees, Brazil’s Neuza Back and Mexican Karen Diaz Medina, at Al Bayt Stadium, in an all-female on-field refereeing team.
She is one of three female officials picked to take part in the tournament, the first time it has happened in a men’s World Cup.
Rwandan Salima Mukansanga and Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan are the other two women referees to be chosen.
“We know there are some difficulties there for women,” Frappart said.
“But I think and I hope that this World Cup will help them.
“I have always been made welcome [in Qatar], so there is no problem.
“I am not afraid to go there, but I hope this World Cup will help them in the future.”
The Gulf state, which follows strict Muslim laws, has been widely criticised for its ban on same-sex relationships and its treatment of migrant workers.
Human rights organisation Amnesty International has said women and LGBTQ+ people “continue to face discrimination in law and practice”.
England women’s captain Leah Williamson has said she hadn’t “got any interest” in watching the tournament and team-mate Beth Mead said it was “disappointing” the World Cup was being held in Qatar. — BBCsport.