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FIFA U17 World Cup 2017 to enter record books with appointment of female officials

732   //    05 Oct 2017, 15:00 IST

Ri Hyang Ok is from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Ri Hyang Ok is from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

The FIFA U-17 World Cup is about to kick off on the 6th of October, and the event is about to set a number of records. The first record is obvious, that it's the first time that India is hosting any FIFA tournament, let alone U-17 World Cup. This fact has been out there for a while, so you must be aware of it unless you're living under a rock.

The second thing that is going to happen for the first time, is that there are going to be, for the very first time, female support referees in a men's tournament. Yes, you heard it right. It is indeed, a record-setting development, and could have larger consequences for the future of all football tournaments.

The FIFA Referees Committee had appointed 21 trios of match officials, in August earlier this year, representing all six confederations, i.e., AFC, CONCACAF, UEFA, etc. FIFA has an old reputation of having on-point match officiating, and this time around, they just went a step ahead by including 7 women support referees, for the first time ever in a men's tournament.

7 women support referees to help officiate the U-17 World Cup
7 women support referees selected to help officiate the U-17 World Cup, and their birth dates

While the U-17 India World Cup is going to be a huge step ahead, for the Indians, the tournament also brings huge opportunities for the officiating team to showcase their qualities. FIFA's Head of Refereeing, Massimo Busacca went on record, and said, "We think it's time for elite female referees to be involved in a FIFA men's competition. They worked together with male match officials last year and now we want to see them working together in a competition."

#1 Ri Hyang Ok

Ri Hyang Ok is a North Korean former women's football midfielder, who later went on to be a football referee. She was a member of the North Korea women's national football team. She was part of the team at the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup and the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup. Now, she will be seen assisting the referees in the Indian U-17 World Cup.

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