Female referees will not be stopped from officiating on World Cup matches involving conservative nations such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, or Qatar because of cultural or religious sensitivities.
This year’s tournament marks the first time female referees have officiated at a men’s World Cup.
But women’s rights are heavily restricted in some World Cup nations.
Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga, Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita, and Frenchwoman Stephanie Frappart have been appointed.
Referees chief Pierluigi Collina emphasized they had been selected because they are match officials and “not because they are women”.
“It [the presence of female referees] is something new, it’s something that attracts attention, it attracts interest,” said Collina, who is chairman of the Fifa Referees Committee.
“For us, they are referees, they are match officials. This is the message I gave them. ‘You are here not because you are women, you are here because you are Fifa match officials’.
“All match officials can be appointed for all matches. If there are restrictions, because there are restrictions, they are restrictions concerning their role here.
“We have some restrictions due to neutrality, for instance. But they are here Fifa World Cup 2022 match officials and they are ready to officiate any kind of match, depending on their performances, depending on our thoughts.”
In addition to Mukansanga, Yoshimi, and Frappart, three female assistant referees have also been selected for the World Cup.
“We are here because we deserve to be here. Back at our confederation, or back at home it is another level, so this is the biggest level of football,” said Mukansanga.
“So being here means we deserve to be here, it’s not a change or because we are women.”
“We are in the hands of Fifa so they will make the appointment. I am not afraid of anything,” added Frappart.
“We know there is a lot of expectation, we know that more and more games are important, but we also have experience in our competition. I made a lot of games with high importance, so with all this experience we will be ready for the matches.”
- Referees to crack down on the dangerous play
Pierluigi Collina is widely regarded as the greatest referee of all time
Collina also said referees at the World Cup will clamp down on the foul play in a bid to protect players from injury.
At the 2018 tournament in Russia, just four red cards were handed out – compared with 10 four years earlier in Brazil, 17 in 2010, and 28 in Germany.
Collina said all 32 teams competing in Qatar had been visited by Fifa refereeing officials and warned that dangerous play will be punished.
“The World Cup is the most important tournament on earth in our sport with the best players in the world,” said the Italian.
“It would be a shame if some of these players wouldn’t be able to play due to an injury caused by an opponent. So the first message to our referees is to protect the player’s safety.
“Whenever there is something that may endanger the safety of players, coaches should expect the strongest disciplinary sanction which is a red card.”
Collina also revealed that VAR offside decisions at the World Cup will be quicker and more accurate with new “semi-automatic offside technology” being introduced by Fifa at the tournament.