Stephanie Frappart blazes trail for female referees by officiating Uefa Super Cup

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Referee Stephanie Frappart speaks with Chelsea players Emerson and Mateo Kovacic.

AP

Referee Stephanie Frappart speaks with Chelsea players Emerson and Mateo Kovacic.

In the highest-profile men’s game yet for a female referee, Stephanie Frappart made it look like any other.

A month after she oversaw the Women’s World Cup final, the French match official dealt with everything in Thursday’s (NZT) Super Cup game between Liverpool and Chelsea – star players’ tantrums, football’s tangled handball rule and the physical test of extra time.

For the Super Cup, Frappart was accompanied by assistants Manuela Nicolosi of France and Michelle O’Neal from Ireland, reuniting the team which officiated the United States’ win over the Netherlands in the Women’s World Cup decider last month.

Sky Sport

Liverpool’s Adrian pulls off a match-winning save to deny Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham in the Uefa Super Cup shootout.

Such was Frappart’s control, her milestone presence was hardly felt in Istanbul.

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In only the sixth minute she made the crucial call not to award Liverpool a penalty when Sadio Mane’s scissor-kick shot hit Andreas Christensen’s arm.

The thorny issue of exactly what constitutes an “unnatural” arm position has been much discussed lately, not least when Liverpool won a penalty against Tottenham’s Moussa Sissoko in similar circumstances in the Champions League final, but the video assistant referee system didn’t review Frappart’s call.

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Referee Stephanie Frappart, centre, shakes hands with assistant referees Michelle O'Neill and Manuela Nicolosi prior to the start of the Uefa Super Cup.

AP

Referee Stephanie Frappart, centre, shakes hands with assistant referees Michelle O’Neill and Manuela Nicolosi prior to the start of the Uefa Super Cup.

Frappart had few problems keeping pace with the world’s top male players – a concern sometimes voiced by critics of female referees – and was quietly authoritative.

Frappart kept Chelsea’s players under control when the Blues twice had goals ruled out for offside on the way to a penalty-shootout loss to Liverpool .

She greeted aggrieved players with a firmly outstretched palm and faced down objections calmly, such as when Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta was upset to receive a booking for shoving Mane.

Frappart could be jovial too, smiling and patting Chelsea’s Jorginho on the back after blowing the whistle for halftime.

Frappart became the first woman to referee a French top-flight men’s game when she oversaw Amiens against Strasbourg in April.

She has been promoted to a full-time role for the French men’s league this season.

Frappart said in June she was “proud and honuored” to gain that promotion and hoped she could inspire more young girls to take up refereeing.



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