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Introducing Stephanie Frappart, the female referee who is set to take charge of the UEFA Super Cup

218   //    14 Aug 2019, 21:29 IST

United States of America v Netherlands: Final - 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France
United States of America v Netherlands: Final - 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France

As Liverpool and Chelsea are set to lock horns with the UEFA Super Cup up for grabs in Istanbul, Stephanie Frappart will be firmly under the limelight as she prepares to take charge of the game.

The 35-year-old will go down in history as the first female referee to officiate a major UEFA event, with the French international set to be accompanied by Manuela Nicolosi and Michelle O'Neill.

Speaking before the game, Frappart dismissed claims of being fazed by the occasion, indicating that her appointment for a fixture of such magnitude will be a welcome change, considering the lack of female referees at the highest level of football.

"Only teams play differently but as a man or a woman we cannot referee the same game between women and men. For me it is the same because refereeing is the same. Football is the same, there are the same rules so I will referee the same as in female leagues."

Frappart's journey to the highs of officiating a high-profile game between two giants of English football has been anything but plain sailing.

As quoted by Melissa Reddy in an exclusive for ESPN, the Paris native was officiating matches as a teenager and finally got her big break aged 20 while she was still attempting to make it as a professional footballer.

UEFA's decision to appoint a female referee for a game of such magnitude has gained plaudits universally, with the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Virgil van Dijk among the notable footballing personalities to do so.

Jurgen Klopp, in particular, went on to describe the decision as "smart" and hoped that it wouldn't be a one-off event.

"Finally! It's time. It's a smart decision to have women referee a very, very important game. It's the first time, but I hope it's not the last."

Virgil van Dijk, one of the favourites for the Ballon d'Or spoke positively about the appointment when he was quizzed about the event.

"Gender is irrelevant, it doesn't matter at all. Look at her CV, she has earned this seismic opportunity"

Frappart officiated the FIFA Woman's World Cup final between the United States and the Netherlands earlier this year and has presided over a handful of games in the Ligue 1, a further indication of her glittering CV.

In a fixture where the reigning European Champions Liverpool come up against the defending champions of the Europa League, Frappart's appointment has come firmly under the spotlight despite the magnitude of the fixture.

"I hope it serves as an example to female referees, and to any young girls who may aspire to be a referee."

Frappart hopes to be an inspiration for aspiring female referees and her appointment for a major UEFA event is a defining moment for women involved in the sport.