Rwandan referee Salma Mukansanga makes history as she becomes 1st African woman to officiate a men's World Cup match

Referee assistant Stephanie Frappart of France shows 7 minutes overtime during the World Cup group C soccer match between Mexico and Poland, at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

Stephanie Frappart of France made soccer history Tuesday as the the first woman to officiate a men’s World Cup match when she took the field as the fourth official in the game between Mexico and Poland.

Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga also made history as the first African woman to officiate a men’s World Cup match when defending champions France beat Australia 4-1 in Group D opener on Tuesday, November 22, at Al Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, in Qatar.

 Mukansanga, 34, was the fourth referee of the game.

Frappart, Japan’s Yamashita Yoshimi and Mukansanga are the first women selected as referees for soccer’s biggest tournament. They were among the 36 total referees for the tournament in Qatar.

Rwandan-born referee Salima Mukansanga makes history as the first African woman to officiate FIFA World Cup match as France beat Australia 4-1 in Group D opener on Tuesday, November 22.  [Twitter]

Brazil’s Neuza Back, Mexico’s Karen Diaz Medina and American Kathryn Nesbitt are among 69 assistant referees at the World Cup.

Frappart has already worked men’s games in World Cup qualifying, and the Champions League. She also handled the 2019 Women’s World Cup final, and refereed this year’s men’s French Cup final.

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