'Gender is irrelevant': History-making female referee hailed

A leading female referee from France says she hopes her history-making UEFA Super Cup appointment will pave the way for more women to officiate major men’s football competitions.

Stéphanie Frappart will become the first woman to serve as a referee during a major UEFA men’s football match when she take charge of Thursday morning’s (AEST) UEFA Super Cup match between Liverpool and Chelsea.

Prior to the game, Reds star Virgil van Dijk had nothing but good things to say about Frappart.

The 28-year-old van Dijk said he doesn’t care that Frappart is a woman, only that she’s officiated high-level games in the past.

UEFA is the governing body of European football, and the Super Cup is contested annually between the reigning Champions League winner and Europa League winner.

This season, that’s Liverpool and Chelsea, respectively.

Frappart, 35, will be the head referee and joined by assistants Manuela Nicolosi and Michelle O’Neill.

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp was pleased with the appointment, saying he’s happy to be “part of this historic moment.”

Frappart, who is French, has been trending in this direction for some time now.

In April, Frappart became the first woman to ref a Ligue 1 match and she also took charge of the Women's World Cup final.

Upon learning she would officiate in the Super Cup, Frappart said she hoped young girls would be inspired to pursue their dreams when they saw her on the field.

Stéphanie Frappart. Pic: Getty

“I’m very happy, and it was really a surprise,” Frappart said.

“I didn’t expect to be given the Super Cup assignment – it’s a great honour for me, and for female referees as well.”

“I hope it serves as an example to female referees, and to any young girls who may aspire to be a referee.”

With Yahoo Sports US