The match between Japan and New Caledonia on Saturday will mark the first time a female referee will officiate a game at a Fifa U-17 World Cup. Switzerland’s Esther Staubli will be the first female referee to officiate a World Cup game after her appointment for Saturday’s match to be played at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium in Kolkata.
Staubli, 38, is one of seven women referees invited to the Fifa U-17 World Cup 2017 in India where all the male and female match officials, nominated by the body’s Referees Committee, have completed a host of activities together in a series of seminars, including theoretical sessions in the classroom and practical sessions on the field of play.
Accoding to Fifa, this decision is in line with their objective to further develop women’s football and that such an opportunity is crucial as the referees prepare for the Fifa Women’s World Cup in 2019.
“We think it’s time for elite female referees to be involved in a Fifa men’s competition,” Massimo Busacca, the governing body’s head of refereeing, had said earlier this month. “They worked together with male match officials last year and now we want to see them working together in a competition.”
Seven female assistant referees from across the world (one from each continent) have been chosen along with 70 male referees to officiate the 52 matches in the Fifa U-17 World Cup.