So… what did you think of the refereeing team? They were incredible, right? To refresh your memories, the wonderful Kateryna Monzul refereed with help from lines-women Maryna Strilestska and Svitlana Grushko, who were all assisted by Stephanie Frappart as VAR.
As of writing this article, I cannot find a single news article where any of these women received backlash. This surely proves that women belong in football, even the men’s – going against Fortuna Dusseldorf’s midfielder Kerem Demirbay famous quotation: “women have no place in men’s football”.
However, as I turned my search onto social media… I hit a goldmine with Twitter. The abuse was hurled one comment after another, there were some disgraceful comments from people. One stood out to me from a particular user, who said “She [Monzul] has been awful. No control, just randomly handing out cards whenever she is pressured too.”
As an English student, I can delve deep into what this user meant by “pressured”, do they mean from the opposition players? From the side-lines? From the fans? Who knows? I do know one thing though, Monzul (and the other female officials) should be proud of what they have achieved, and what they have overcome to get to where they are.
Looking at Saturday’s match, from my perspective, it was a timid game – realistically minimal fouls – however, this does not mean that their job was easy. For instance, Frappart allowed Ben Chilwell’s goal after it had been called ‘off-side’, this is no easy task and she made the correct judgment call. All hell would have broken loose if she had called it off-side.
The question we should be asking ourselves is: was the build-up of an all women’s refereeing team actually called for? Yes, it was a momentous occasion, but should it have been? Should we have just let these women do their job and let more take part too?