Saturday 24 August 2019

Line of duty: Michelle is making history as part of Uefa Super Cup referee team

Michelle O'Neill. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Michelle O'Neill. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Irish woman Michelle O'Neill will be part of a historic occasion at this year's Uefa Super Cup between Liverpool and Chelsea.

Stephanie Frappart will become the first woman to referee a major European men's game when she takes charge of the clash in Istanbul on August 14.

The French official will be joined by the two female assistant referees who worked with her in last month's Women's World Cup final: compatriot Manuela Nicolosi and Ms O'Neill.

The 35-year-old became the first woman to referee a Ligue 1 match in April, when she officiated a game between Amiens and Strasbourg, and she has been promoted to an elite pool of referees for French top-flight games for the new season.

But she is not the first woman to be assigned to a competitive men's match by Uefa.

Switzerland's Nicole Petignat refereed three Uefa Cup qualifying round games between 2004 and 2009.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin said: "We place the utmost importance on the development of women's football in all areas.

"I hope the skill and devotion that Stephanie has shown throughout her career to reach this level will provide inspiration to millions of girls and women around Europe and show them there should be no barriers in order to reach one's dream."

Uefa chief refereeing officer Roberto Rosetti added Ms Frappart "fully deserves" her chance on this stage and said he hopes "this match will provide her with yet more experience".

Irish Independent

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