France’s Stéphanie Frappart will become the first woman to referee a men’s Champions League match on Wednesday when Juventus host Dynamo Kiev in Turin, European football’s governing body UEFA confirmed on Sunday.
The 36-year-old has already made history as the first woman to referee in the French top flight, and took charge of the 2019 UEFA Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea. She also made her Europa League debut in October.
It is the first time that a woman has been assigned to referee a game in Europe’s most prestigious club competition.
Italian giants Juventus host Ukrainian side Dynamo in Group G at the Allianz Stadium.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juve, second in the group, are already through to the last 16 along with leaders Barcelona with two games to play.
Frappart, who started refereeing at the age of 13, was the first woman referee in the French second division in 2014, moving up to the men’s Ligue 1 five years later.
In Europe, she was also the first woman to referee a men’s international when she took charge of September’s Nations League match between Malta and Latvia, and she recently refereed her first two Europa League matches – Leicester City vs Zorya Luhansk on October 22 and Granada vs Omonia Nicosia last Thursday.
Frappart follows in the footsteps of two trailblazers in Nicole Petignat, the first woman to officiate in the UEFA Cup in 2003, and Bibiana Steinhaus, who became the first woman referee in a major European league when she arrived in Germany’s Bundesliga.
“It is at the same time a privilege, an honour and a responsibility,” Frappart said before her first full season at the top in 2019/2020, which was cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I hope that my career will encourage young girls to become involved in refereeing.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praised Frappart and her assistants’ handling of the 2019 Super Cup final.
“There was so much pressure for an historic moment. They remained calm and did what they had to do. I couldn’t have more respect for Stéphanie Frappart,” said the German.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)