Stephanie Frappart will become the first female referee to officiate a men’s World Cup match this Thursday evening in Costa Rica-Germany. A powerful symbol that FIFA intends to use to make people forget their disastrous handling of the World Cup controversy. Because this happens first in a country where women have limited rights. A reality that the big family of the round ball hardly expresses itself.
By Nicholas Ksis-Martov
This Costa Rica-Germany will go down in history regardless of the outcome and results, however, two selections that played big on the occasion. Stephanie Frappart, well-known in France, where she has played in Ligue 1 (and European competitions such as the Super Cup or Champions League) since 2019, will be the first woman to officiate a match between 22 men in the men’s world. Cup (was the fourth judge of the Mexico-Poland and Portugal-Ghana teams). There is nothing insignificant about this moment. If the positive aspects of the whistle have become the object of all criticism and often the scapegoat for bad results, they retain a mission of symbolic empowerment. These custodians of the game ultimately embody what essentially distinguishes round ball from other sports, in other words, its special rules. A former Herblay player was shown a yellow card in front of a small boy Mannschaftvisually, the filthy moment in front of hundreds of millions of potential viewers is sure to delight social networks and commentators.
“For us, they are only official judges. And this is my message to them: “You are not here because you are women, you are here because you are a FIFA referee.” » Pierluigi Collina, head of international referees department
The main stakeholder, who also holds down a part-time job at FSGT, remains reserved and does not like to take on this “pioneer” role. He prefers to reduce his development only to have his skills recognized. “I was very impressed because it was definitely not expected. The World Cup is the pinnacle of the world, the biggest competition. Therefore, I am proud to be a part of it.” , he explained when the judges selected for the competition were announced back in September. Same story with FIFA authorities. Pierluigi Collina, head of the legendary international referees office, also spoke at the beginning of the tournament: “For us, they are only official judges. Here is my message to them: “You are not here because you are a woman, but because you are a FIFA referee.” » This discourse dilutes any much-westernized universalist restoration (gender equality) to emphasize the old meritocratic argument. It can also be a means of protecting oneself from something possible to beat Where bad buzz sexist in the case of a flagrant error that would eliminate one or the other (we are less forgiving of those who should be exemplary). It is more about judging the performance of an ordinary arbitrator among ordinary arbitrators.
The issue of women’s rights in Qatar
The only problem is, this World Cup is no ordinary thing. Happening in Qatar. And the rights of women in this country, which are very little discussed, are far from satisfactory. Starting with many migrant workers, often as domestic workers, who are subjected to violence and sexual harassment in addition to difficult working conditions. Qatari women retain their sub-citizen status. Amnesty International recalls that despite formal advances (the right to vote or access to public office, even certain sports) “under the guardianship system, they are bound to their male guardians, usually their fathers, brothers, grandfathers or uncles, and for married women, their husbands. Women still need the permission of their guardians to make important life decisions, such as getting married, studying abroad on a government scholarship, working in many civil service jobs, traveling abroad before a certain age, and receiving certain types of reproductive health care. »
That’s why we imagine FIFA, famous for its silence on LGBT or human rights issues, will do anything to confine Stephanie Frappart’s case to the confines of the stadium. As for France, we remember Hugo Lloris’ position on homophobia:“When we welcome foreigners in France, we often want them to follow our rules and respect our culture. I will do the same when I go to Qatar. I may or may not agree with their opinion, but I have to respect it. » In this context, was it not necessary to leave Stephanie Frappart at home in order not to offend the hosts of the World Cup, following this logic until the end? However, Noël Le Graët does not hesitate to say that his good relationship with Gianni Infantino had nothing to do with this decision.
By Nicholas Ksis-Martov