Stéphanie Frappart, the referee who hides the desert

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

→ READ GEN. Referee for Chelsea – Liverpool, Stéphanie Frappart continues his ascent

The progress on the lawn at the Stade de France, on Saturday evening, May 7, should seem less heavy to him, as it will “only” be a hexagonal meeting. Yet in a hundred and five years of existence, the Coupe de France had never put its trust in a woman to judge her final, which would oppose Nantes to Nice. The reward ” at some point (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, calm, industrious are among the nicknames regularly served on the subject of the young woman of 38, attracted from her teens by the whistle and so much the more comfortable in her position on the grounds that she had searched them. – number 10 in the back – on the lower levels. Her rapid progress among the professionals, Stéphanie Frappart then started it as a judge among the women, with a European Championship and a World Cup final outside her syllabus.

We would happily go with enchanted eyes over these rows of awards, just like the football experts of recent years. By Jürgen Klopp, the Liverpool coach who could not “no more respect” for her on the benches of Ligue 1 and tasted her “diplomacy”. “In a profession (…) constantly worn down and disputed, Frappart is unanimous today “, greeted The team at the beginning of last year, which that day dedicated her front page and placed her in the top 30 players in French football. I consider her one of the best referees in the league. ” Christophe Galtier, coach of OGC Nice, said again in recent weeks after his nomination for the final.

5% female judges this season

However, it is hard not to see that the stairs that the young woman climbed draw in shadow an isolate in the tricolor football. There was actually 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 women’s ability to practice law enforcement, but behind Stéphanie there is none and there will be almost none,” 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 that FFF has listed this season.

Of the same order as rugby, but smaller than indoor team sports. Leader of judges in the federation, Romuald Bourgeois sees it as the consequence of one “late development of women’s football as a whole ,, Motivated a handful of years ago by the sponsors and the arrival of a television company like Canal + for the championship in the first division.

The same rarity abroad, where only 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 use this isolation to test their limits, as in 2015 in 2and German division, where “Bibi” Steinhaus had played for seven years and had expelled a player who would then reply that she had nothing to do on the field.

Strengthen the support and preparation of candidates

Stéphanie Frappart says nothing about these hiccups. Her performance in the Super Cup, when she had run more than 16 kilometers (after extended playing 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 judges. Discriminatory for some. Promise of equality for the FFF, which prefers to strengthen support for the physical preparation of candidates and guarantee the semi-professional status of the future Stéphanie Frappart. They will no doubt be even more likely to want to be after Saturday night.


Canary Islands vs. Eaglets

The duel between Nantes and Nice seems to be the most balanced in a Coupe de France final since … 2014. We must go back to that date to no longer see Paris-Saint-Germain be a scarecrow at this stage of the competition . (only beaten by Rennes in 2019). Against Niçois, who is still in the race for the podium three days before the end of the championship, Antoine Kombouaré’s men, who have signed on for 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.

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