Stephanie Frappart, the French referee who missed Chelsea a controversial Super Cup penalty earlier this year, will make history by becoming the first woman to direct a Champions League game when Juventus Dynamo host Kiev.
The 36-year-old started as a referee at the age of 13 and chose to take over the post instead of playing as a 20-year-old because she felt the women’s game wasn’t offering her enough career path.
After becoming the first woman to lead a men’s match in French Ligue 1 in 2019, she was catapulted into the spotlight later that year when she received the Super Cup showpiece between Chelsea and Liverpool – an assignment that was not without incident.
She booked Cesar Azpilicueta when the Chelsea captain yelled in her face and then gave his side extra time when she decided Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian had overturned English striker Tammy Abraham in the penalty area.
A PIECE OF HISTORY Juventus versus Dynamo Kyiv will be officiated by Stephanie Frappart on Wednesday. It’s the FIRST time a female referee oversees a senior men’s UCL match Zorya in UEL pic.twitter.com/iZMIBumxAy
– Zorya Londonsk (@ZoryaLondonsk) November 30, 2020
A video assistant referee check did not intervene as Frappart had not made a clear and obvious mistake, although Reds boss Jürgen Klopp said he was “not sure” about the decision and Adrian insisted that he had made minimal contact and added that Abraham had “looked for it”.
Klopp also praised Frappart and admired her ability to “keep calm” and “decide very important things in a very difficult and intense game”.
“I told the referee team after the game that we would have won 6-0 if we had played as they whistled,” the coach told Liverpool’s official website after his team’s penalty win.
“That was my absolute opinion. You played a brilliant game. Whatever you might have thought before the game, there was hellish pressure on you with a historic moment.”
Frappart will oversee the world’s most famous male player when she takes on Cristiano Ronaldo and Juve’s game against Dynamo in Turin on Wednesday.
Stephanie Frappart and Co. keep the peace. And that without cards. Azpilicueta’s (admittedly pretty harmless) yellow was the first booking all night in the 79th minute. pic.twitter.com/s92EGPzAes
– DW Sports (@dw_sports), August 14, 2019
There was an incident a few moments ago where I think some image editing will be happy to use tomorrow. Yes, Cesar Azpilicueta yelled in the face of referee Stephanie Frappart. Just like any other referee he comes across as the Chelsea captain, just like you were.
– Dan Levene (@danlevene) August 14, 2019
The game is essentially meaningless in terms of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stage, although a win for the hosts who are already through would improve their chances of beating Barcelona to the top of the group and a more favorable draw in of the round to be achieved by 16.
Dynamo can’t catch their opponents or Barca, but they are on par with Hungarian newcomer Ferencváros, who would secure a spot in the knockout phase of the Europa League, in the battle for third place.
Frappart is nearing the accepted top years for referees and called her appointment to the final of the Women’s World Cup last year an “exceptional moment”.
“I am sure that the final and the entire World Cup have attracted new fans to women’s football,” she told UEFA.com at the time.
“The tournament showed how women’s football has developed in terms of technique, tactics and fitness.”
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