When the FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar in 2022, it will make history as the first time that female referees will be officiating matches at the tournament. This is a huge milestone for women in sport, and one that is long overdue. For too long, women have been excluded from refereeing at the highest level of men’s football. This is despite the fact that there are many talented female referees out there who are more than capable of officiating at the World Cup. Qatar’s decision to appoint female referees for the 2022 World Cup is a welcome step in the right direction and will hopefully pave the way for more women to officiate at the highest level of the sport. This is not the first time that women have officiated at a major men’s tournament. In 2011, Nigerian referee Joy Taru was appointed as an assistant referee for the men’s FIFA Club World Cup. She also officiated at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. However, the appointment of female referees for the World Cup is a significant step forward, and one that will help to break down barriers and open up opportunities for women in refereeing. The appointment of female referees for the World Cup is also significant because of the high profile nature of the tournament. The World Cup is watched by billions of people around the world, and so having female referees officiating at the tournament will help to raise the profile of women in sport. This is a positive step forward for gender equality in sport, and one that will hopefully lead to more opportunities for women in refereeing.
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