Referee Frappart set for Finalissima first
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Stéphanie Frappart is refereeing the Women's Finalissima between England and Brazil at Wembley Stadium in London – another landmark appointment for the French official.
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The 39-year-old became the first woman to referee in the UEFA Super Cup (2019), Champions League (2020) and FIFA World Cup (2022) and will now officiate the inaugural Women's Finalissima as the European champions meet their South American counterparts at Wembley.
"The game has been sold out for a long time, so it means the fans are waiting for this moment, just like the Women's EURO, and there is a lot of expectation, not just in Europe but also in South America for this competition," Frappart said.
"It's two different styles of play, but we have that experience with the Women's World Cup, that when they play together it makes for a very interesting tactical game, but the women's games are often very open, more perhaps than the men, so it will be a great contest."
Among the excitement at two of the world's top teams going head-to-head, Frappart sees her own role as a facilitator for the players to shine.
"If at the end, no one is speaking about the referees, it means that we did the job and gave the possibility to the players to show their qualities," she explained. "It is a big spectacle for everybody and as a refereeing team, we have to prepare to expect the unexpected things and make sure that if something happens, we are ready to manage it."
Next Thursday's Wembley date will be Frappart's third assignment at the iconic venue, following on from a 2019 friendly between England and Germany and her role as fourth official at last summer's UEFA Women's EURO 2022 final.
"In that first game, there was a big crowd of 77,000, and at Women's EURO it was sold out," she recalls. "The atmosphere was great and this is one of my best memories. At Women's EURO, everything was well organised. Most of the stadiums were full and we can see that women's football is much more attractive than before."
Women's football is one of the key focus points of the recently expanded cooperation between UEFA and CONMEBOL, which not only creates mouthwatering events like the men's and women's Finalissima, but also closer ties in the areas of futsal and youth football, technical training schemes and, of course, refereeing.
At both EURO 2020 and Women's EURO 2022, South American representatives joined UEFA's line-up of officials, and vice versa for CONMEBOL's Copa América equivalents.
"We have some exchanges, not only in competitions, but also in seminars, and it's good that some referees from Europe and South America are swapping positions," Frappart said. "It's good to share our experiences, to have these conversations and improve the level of refereeing. This is a great cooperation between UEFA and CONMEBOL."
The future is bright for the blossoming relationship between European and South American football. Now, it's all eyes on another spectacular occasion under the Wembley floodlights.