Wed. Nov 13th, 2019

Stéphanie Frappart, a pioneer

For the first time, a referee overshadows all 22 players before starting a match. The exception has a name: Stéphanie Frappart. A pioneer in the history of football. This 35-year-old French woman, single, all character, punctilious, will become today the first woman to referee a men's European competition final, the European Super Cup between Liverpool and the Chelsea, in Istanbul. One more step to achieve full gender equality in the king sport.

They have had to spend more than 60 years of European football competitions for a woman to lead a match of the highest level of men. A milestone that UEFA It has not been overlooked, boasting of equality policy. “I am delighted by this appointment. I hope that the example of Stéphanie will inspire millions of girls and women across Europe and show them that there should be no barriers to achieve their dreams, ”said UEFA's Slovenian president Aleksander Ceferin, based on the decision taken by Roberto Rosetti, the head of arbitration of the Federation, for whom Frappart "has demonstrated over the years that it is one of the best arbitrators in Europe and around the world."

The tenacity of Frappart

“You have to be passionate to stay in arbitration when you are insulted every weekend”

Merits, progression and experience are not lacking in Stéphanie Frappart, a referee since the age of 13 – from 15 in the French federal division – the second of four brothers in a working-class family in the department of Val d'Oise, a few kilometers away. North of Paris

Like almost all the referees, Frappart started as a footballer, in AS Herblay, but "I felt the vocation as a child for arbitration." Two of his brothers were collegiate. The two left the whistle. “When I was studying Staps – the equivalent of CAFD, Physical Activity and Sports Science – I had to decide between continuing to play or arbitration. You have to be very passionate to stay in arbitration when you are insulted every weekend at the lowest levels. But I was stubborn as a mule, and I have always lived in a world of boys, ”Frappart explained in a comprehensive report that L'Équipe TV dedicated last spring, coinciding with another historical designation: April 28 was the first woman in directing a men's Ligue 1 match, an Amiens-Strasbourg (0-0), equating her German colleague Bibiana Steinhaus, who two years ago arbitrated in the men's Bundesliga. This season, Frappart is on permanent payroll on L1; They are the only two women referees in the major European leagues.

In Spain, that last step of a woman in men's elite football is yet to be seen. The closest will be that Guadalupe Porras, 32-year-old assistant assistant referee, debuts this Saturday as a line judge in Primera, in Mallorca-Éibar.

Frappart, a professional since 2010, has been taking advantage of his colleagues for years: in addition to the prize of directing the final of the women's World Cup last July, the Frenchman has directed two Ligue matches1, a Cup Cup match League, six of the Cup, 77 of Ligue2 (second division) and 57 of Championnat National (third division). And it is not one that is cut: 362 reprimands (2.53 per game) and 21 expulsions, plus 26 penalties. An arbitrator who “imposes his authority and enforces himself,” according to his assistant colleagues. "She is the best referee in Ligue2: she has a small voice, but a lot of charisma and personality, besides, you can talk to her," Pierre Bouby, of the Orléans, told L’Équipe TV.

Frappart, who continues to work three days a week as director of activities of the Federation of Sports and Work Gymnastics (FSGT) "to keep their feet on the ground", with a salary of 1,550 euros gross per month, charges 1,300 per game, and 150 when he serves as fourth referee on L1. Same as your male colleagues. The same works for that. “When you're a woman, you always have to prove more to get a place. With men everything goes faster in the field. Trying to follow Mbappé at 37 km / h is not easy; The players are not going to go less fast because I am a woman. The physical and technical requirements are the same ”, mademoiselle Frappart is claimed.

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