Stéphanie Frappart was appointed as match referee for the final of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, which will be contested between USA and the Netherlands at 17.00h CET on Sunday in Lyon.
The French official has already officiated three games so far at the tournament: the 0-0 group stage draw between Argentina and Japan, the Netherlands’ 2-1 defeat of Canada in the same round, and Sweden’s 2-1 quarterfinal win against Germany.
Frappart is widely known in France for having become the first woman to referee a professional men’s game, in Ligue 2, before subsequently taking charge of matches at Ligue 1 level.
She spoke about her pride at having been selected, and gave her thoughts on the tournament as a whole.
Stephanie, what does it mean to you to have been appointed referee for the final of France 2019?
It’s a huge source of pride to be appointed for this match because I represent all of the referees at this World Cup. It’s a major recognition. It’s impossible to describe my emotions because we’ve all been working for several years to get here, a bit like the players.
What is your take on the groundbreaking use of video assistant referees at this Women’s World Cup?
VAR has had a positive impact on this World Cup. We’ve been working for the past year on how to apply the system. It’s a great tool for us. We’re here to referee and make decisions on the pitch, and VAR is like a parachute for us in case we’re unsure or get something wrong, because it allows us to make the right decision in the end.
What are your general thoughts on the tournament so far?
This World Cup has been a huge success for women’s football. The stadiums are full, there’s a lot of enthusiasm and everyone has been following the competition as closely as a men’s World Cup, so it’s a real success for us.
How did you prepare for this tournament?
Our preparations began just after Canada 2015. We had seminars, training courses and a preparation programme focusing on fitness, tactics and technique. In terms of fitness, we had trainers working with us throughout the year and even during the tournament. We also went through all the preparations for the use of VAR.
You have already refereed men’s top-flight matches in France. What did that mean to you?
I started refereeing in Ligue 1 last season, taking charge of two games. It was a huge recognition of my abilities and hard work. It was also a way of showing every young girl that it’s possible to reach that level if you work hard and give yourself the means to get there.