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FIFA Women World Cup: Female referees inspiring girls to 'dream big'

Referee Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan (C) and assistant referees Naomi Teshirogi of Japan (L) and Makoto Bozono of Japan at Eden Park in Auckland on July 20, 2023.   -  
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SAEED KHAN/AFP or licensors


The FIFA Women's World Cup kick off on Thursday (Jul.20). If the focus will be on the players, other stars of the pitch are referees.

For the 6th edition of the tournament hosted by New Zealand and Australia, 33 female referees have been chosen.

They will work to inspire an entire generation together with a further 74 female assistant referees and video match officials.

"It’s so important. And I really believe in that saying, 'If you can’t see it, you can’t be it'," Australian referee Casey Reibel said.

"Being able to see female referees here in Australia and in New Zealand, I know that some of our young referees will be inspired to dream big and to hopefully be at the World Cup one day themselves. That would be my dream, (my) goal."

Brazil's assistant referee Neuza Back doubled down: “In my opinion, we need to have people that we can look up to and follow in order to understand that it doesn’t matter what your race, skin colour, or your gender is – you can achieve what you want."

"So, as women, when we achieve our objectives, it’s important that [young girls] can see that they can indeed achieve what they want to."

When the names of referees were unveiled earlier this year, the chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee, reiterated that the criteria was used for the selection process was ‘quality first’ .

The FIFA’s Head of Women Refereeing says the match officials received all necessary support from FIFA for their preparation.

"We have dedicated fitness coaches which follow them (female match official candidates) over the course of the four years. We have technical coaches that are dedicated – meaning hired, to work with them on a monthly basis, and then medical support, so everything they could absolutely need to prepare moving forward," Kari Seitz told a press conference. 

Africa is also represented among the match officials. Three Africans will make history on Friday (Jul. 21) when they oversee the clash between Philippines and Switzerland in New Zealand.

On the pitch will be Togolese Vincentia Amédomé who will be assisted by Cameroonian Carine Fomo and Malian Fanta Kone.

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