Stephanie Frappart became the first female referee to officiate a major men’s European match when she took charge of Wednesday’s Uefa Super Cup. 1
History-making aside, the French official had to deal with VAR reviews, penalty decisions and back chat from players – so all in all just a normal night in the life of any referee.
Along with her all-female team of assistant referees, Manuela Nicolosi of Italy and Michelle O’Neill from the Republic of Ireland, Frappart received praise from pundits and fans for her measured performance as Liverpool beat Chelsea in a penalty shootout.
“I think she’s had a great game – she’s been brilliant in what’s been a difficult game,” former England and Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole told BT Sport.
“She’s been excellent and let the game flow and got most of the big decisions right. She’s handled it fantastically well.”
Former Chelsea and England midfielder Glenn Hoddle noted Frappart’s fitness in humid conditions in Istanbul, saying: “It’s gone to extra time for her as well. The pace will be quicker in the men’s game but she’s kept up and done an excellent job.”
There were three yellow cards given out, including one for Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta, which prompted the Spaniard and team-mate Jorginho to crowd the official.
But the only moment of real contention came when Frappart awarded Chelsea an extra-time penalty after Tammy Abraham went down in the box under a challenge from Liverpool keeper Adrian.
The video assistant referee looked at the decision and decided there was no clear and obvious error, although the contact from the goalkeeper looked minimal.
Adrian admitted afterwards “I touched him”, but added “he was looking for that”.
There was lots of praise for Frappart on social media as well:
Joe Kabyemela: Great game but the undoubted star of the show was the ref. OK, wrong penalty decision but overall absolutely storming performance
The Unbearables: Referee has had all the spotlight on her during the #LIVCHE game and, to be fair, has done really well. Hats off to her.
The Big Payback: Think this female referee and the lineswomen are crushing it. Vastly superior to most Prem officials. Great to see. Can’t imagine the amount of pressure they’ve been feeling leading up to the match.
Sebastian Smith-Cox: Best thing about having a woman referee in the #SuperCup game is 87 mins gone and I’ve only just remembered that there is a woman referee in the #SuperCup game. Equality in action.