Football: Stéphanie Frappart, the referee who hides the desert

First times in the world of football, the bag of Stéphanie Frappart continues to fill. First woman to referee a Ligue 2 match for men was in 2014. First, again, five years later to hold the whistle on the upper floor. UEFA, the governing body of football on a continental scale, entrusts him with the Supercup, then a match in the Champions League, the most prestigious club competition in Europe. First, always, during a qualifying match for the World Cup, in the spring of 2021, and in the League of Nations, another international window, a few months earlier.

→ REREAD. Referee for Chelsea – Liverpool, Stéphanie Frappart continues her ascent

The strides on the lawn of the Stade de France, Saturday evening, May 7, should seem less heavy to him since it will be “only” a hexagonal meeting. Still, in one hundred and five years of existence, the Coupe de France had never placed its trust in a woman to referee its final, which will oppose Nantes to Nice. The reward ” at a time (of) his serious work and his performance”, says the press release from the French Football Federation (FFF), which oversees the competition.

“One of the best in the league”

Humble, serene, diligent are among the epithets regularly served on the subject of the young woman of 38, attracted from adolescence by the whistle and all the more comfortable in her placement on the grounds that she had scoured them. – number 10 in the back – at the lower levels. Her rapid progression among the pros, Stéphanie Frappart then started it as a referee among the women, where a Euro and a World Cup final are beyond her curriculum.

We would gladly walk with enchanted eyes over these lines of awards, like the pundits of football in recent years. Of Jürgen Klopp, the Liverpool coach, who could not “no more respect” for her, on the benches of Ligue 1 tasting her “diplomacy”. “In a profession (…) constantly decried and contested, Frappart is unanimous today”, greeted The Team at the beginning of last year, which devoted its front page to her that day, placing her at the top of the 30 players in French football. I consider her to be one of the best referees in the league.” Christophe Galtier, the coach of OGC Nice, said again in recent weeks after his appointment for the final.

5% female referees this season

Difficult however not to see that the staircase climbed by the young woman draws, in shadow, an isolate in the tricolor football. There was indeed Nelly Viennot, assistant in Ligue 1 between 1996 and 2007, but Stéphanie Frappart remains the only central referee for men. “She is the symbol of the ability of women to exercise law enforcement professions, but behind Stéphanie, there is no one and there will be almost no one”, tance Olivier Chovaux, sports historian at the University of Artois and delegate to the Professional Football League. While the number of female referees has been increasing for ten years, they have only gone from 683 to 1,143, or 5% of the referees listed this season by the FFF.

Of the same order as rugby, but less than indoor team sports. Manager of referees at the federation, Romuald Bourgeois sees it as the consequence of a “late development of women’s football as a whole “, motivated a handful of years ago by the sponsors and the arrival of a broadcaster like Canal + for the first division championship.

The same rarity abroad, where only the Swiss Nicole Petignat, in the 2000s, then the German Bibiana Steinhaus, who in 2017 became the first to lead a match in one of the five major European championships (England, Spain, Germany , Italy, France), preceded the French. Some take advantage of this isolation to test their limits, as in 2015 in 2and German division, where “Bibi” Steinhaus had been playing for seven years and had expelled a player, who will then reply that she had nothing to do on the pitch.

Strengthen the support and preparation of candidates

Stéphanie Frappart says nothing about these hiccups. Her performance in the Supercup, when she had run more than 16 kilometers (after extra time) – a record in European history, men and women combined –, takes care of the last gender clichés for her in terms of endurance.

In France, the stress tests prior to selection in the elite are the same for all referees. Discriminatory for some. Pledge of equality for the FFF, which rather wishes to strengthen support in the physical preparation of candidates and guarantee the semi-professional status of future Stéphanie Frappart. They will undoubtedly be even more numerous to want to become one after the evening of Saturday.


Canaries versus Eaglets

The duel between Nantes and Nice appears to be the most balanced in a Coupe de France final since… 2014. We have to go back to that date to no longer see Paris-Saint-Germain being a scarecrow at this stage of the competition. (only beaten by Rennes, in 2019). Facing the Niçois, still in the race for the podium three days before the end of the championship, Antoine Kombouaré’s men, who have signed the best of their last five Ligue 1 seasons, will try to lift their first trophy in twenty-one years. , and their first Coupe de France since 2000.


About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *