The Rwandan official has been named as one of the first female referees in history to officiate at the men's FIFA World Cup.
For the first time in history, a select group of female referees has been chosen to officiate matches at a FIFA Soccer World Cup. This year's international sporting event will be hosted by the Middle Eastern country Qatar and runs from November 21st to December 18 later this year. Among the history-making female cohort is Rwandan referee Salima Mukansanga, who made headlines earlier this year after becoming the first female referee to a match in the African Cup of Nations.
In total, three female referees and three female assistant referees, have been chosen to oversee the men's sporting event. The female refs making history alongside Mukansanga are France's Stephanie Frappart and Japan's Yoshimi Yamashita. A total of 129 officials will preside over the games -- 36 referees, 69 assistant referees, and 24 video match officials.
Chairman of FIFA's referee committee Pierluigi Collina said of the decision, "As always, the criteria we have used is 'quality first', and the selected match officials represent the highest level of refereeing worldwide. This concludes a long process that began several years ago with the deployment of female referees at FIFA men's junior and senior tournaments."
"In this way," Collina continues, "We clearly emphasize it is quality that counts for us, and not gender. I would hope that in the future, the selection of elite women's match officials for important men's competitions will be perceived as something normal and no longer as sensational." No truer words have been spoken.
Mukansanga made history earlier this year when she became the first female referee to officiate a game in the African Cup of Nations, in Yaounde, Cameroon. In its 65-year-long run, AFCON had never had a women-led team of referring officials.