The official is regarded as one of Frances very best and will take charge of Liverpool v Chelsea in Istanbul on Wednesday
Referees tend not to clapped on to the pitch, let alone greeted with purpose-made banners, but supporters of Amiens decided to make an exception before their match against Strasbourg in April. It was a historic occasion, the first top-flight mens match in France to be refereed by a woman, Stphanie Frappart. Welcome to the Stade de la Licorne, Madame Frappart, read a banner held aloft by home fans. Long live women in football!
Maybe Liverpool and Chelsea fans are planning a similar display for when Frappart breaks new ground by taking charge of their European Super Cup final in Istanbul on Wednesday. That will be the first time a major European mens final has been presided over by female officials, with Frappart assisted by her French compatriot Manuela Nicolosi and Irelands Michelle ONeill. The trio have worked together at bigger matches they were in charge of this years Womens World Cup final but there is no doubt they will be under singular focus at Vodafone Park on Wednesday.
The pressure is different, said Frappart. I know very well that people will be waiting to see how I do. But the 35-year-old from Val dOise near Paris has grown accustomed to the additional pressure.
When she was appointed for that Amiens versus Strasbourg match in April, the fixture suddenly received far more attention than would normally be given to a mid-table Ligue 1 skirmish. Until then the only one of Europes five major leagues to have entrusted a match to a female referee was the Bundesliga, where Bibiana Steinhaus officiated in 2017.
In the Premier League Sian Massey-Ellis operates as an assistant but has yet to be given the main job in the middle. It took a long time for French authorities, too, to make that jump Frapparts assignment in April came 23 years after Nelly Viennot set a precedent by running the line for a Ligue 1 match.
It was to Frapparts credit that the Amiens-Strasbourg game turned out to be a bit of a non-event, and not just because it was a 0-0 draw. To be totally honest we studied her every movement, wrote Yohann Hautbois in his match report in Lquipe. [We] noted down everything it was possible to note the way she checked out the pitch her warm-up with her two assistants, her diagonal runs, the formalities, her first decision (a foul given against Sehrou Guirassy in the fourth minute) and so on until, after a while, we forgot about her. We no longer saw her and, above all, we werent watching her. The old rule of thumb applied, that the best referees are the ones that are noticed the least.
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