Who is the UEFA Super Cup referee? Stephanie Frappart makes football history in Liverpool vs Chelsea final

Stephanie Frappart referee
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The French official will lead a predominantly female team of referees out in Istanbul for the showpiece match

The 2019 UEFA Super Cup between Liverpool and Chelsea is guaranteed to be an historic occasion before a ball is even kicked.

That's because it will be the first time a female referee runs the rule over a major UEFA men's showpiece event.

UEFA confirmed the news at the beginning of August, revealing that Stephanie Frappart would be the chief official for the game between the two Premier League sides.

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It is a decision that has been welcomed by both Jurgen Klopp and Frank Lampard, with the Chelsea boss describing it as "a step in the right direction".

Ahead of the match, Goal brings you everything you need to know about Frappart as well as her predominantly female team of assistants.

Who is Stephanie Frappart?

Stephanie Frappart is a French football referee who has been on the FIFA international list of referees since 2009.

She has been described by UEFA's chief refereeing officer Roberto Rosetti as "one of the best female referees, not just in Europe, but across the world."

Hailing from the north of France near Paris, Frappart, who recently refereed the 2019 Women's World Cup final between the United States and the Netherlands, has already officiated a number of men's games.

In 2014, she became the first woman to referee a match in Ligue 2, France's second tier of professional football, and five years later she made more history by graduating to Ligue 1 in a game between Amiens and Strasbourg.

"I feel a lot of pride," Frappart said after that game, which took place in April 2019. "I can say that I have the qualities to officiate in Ligue 1.

"I realise that this match has gone down in history. There was a lot of expectation, but I took it as any other game. I showed that I have the skills and the ability to be there."

Stephanie Frappart referee

She will continue to referee Ligue 1 games in the 2019-20 season and believes that the experience at that level will help when toting the whistle in the Super Cup.

"I'm now popular all over the world," she said. "But I was also appointed in Ligue 1, so I know the feelings and emotions and how to manage them and how to train for [the occasion].

"This is not my first appointment."

When announcing the news that Frappart would take charge of the Super Cup game between Liverpool and Chelsea, UEFA president Aleksandr Ceferin expressed his hope that it would inspire women.

"As an organisation, we place the utmost importance on the development of women's football in all areas," said Ceferin.

"I hope the skill and devotion that Stephanie has shown throughout her career to reach this level will provide inspiration to millions of girls and women around Europe and show them there should be no barriers in order to reach one's dream."

UEFA has also used the historic occasion to amplify issues of sexism in the sport by inviting two female referees from Italy - Annalisa Moccia and Giulia Nicastro - to the game.

Mocchia and Nicastro were both subjected to sexist abuse from a television commentator and a player when officiating a domestic game.

Who will assist Stephanie Frappart in the UEFA Super Cup?

Frappart will be assisted by two other female officials - Manuela Nicolosi and Michelle O'Neill - as well as Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir.

Nicolosi, who is from Italy, and O'Neill, from Ireland, have both worked with Frappart before, serving as assistant referees for the Women's World Cup final in 2019.

Nicolosi has been a FIFA-listed assistant referee since 2010 and O'Neill has been on the international list as an assistant since 2011.

"It's pretty nice to inspire young girls, to open up the pathways for kids coming up. That's pretty special," said O'Neill of the occasion.

"But this is not our first time on the big stage. I am one of the first Irish officials in a World Cup final, man or woman, so I already know how to react to all the emotions and keep focus on the task on hand."

Manuela Nicolosi Stephanie Frappart Michelle O

Have other female referees officiated men's matches?

Female referees have taken charge of other elite level men's football games, but it is a relatively new development in the sport.

While Frappart is the first women to referee a major men's UEFA match, she is not the first female to take charge of a men's UEFA game.

Swiss referee Nicole Petignat was the first, having refereed three UEFA Cup qualifiers between 2004 and 2009.

Bibiana Steinhaus became the first female referee in Bundesliga history when she ran the rule over a game between Werder Bremen and Hertha Berlin in 2017.