Stephanie Frappart can become role model for female refs, says FA's Joanna Stimpson

Joanna Stimpson on Stephanie Frappart: "To have someone like Stephanie, who is really breaking down barriers at the top end of the game, is huge for the future of female refereeing, not just in the UK but all around the world."

Stephanie Frappart becomes the first women to referee a men's Champions League match - Juventus vs Dynamo Kyiv
Image: Stephanie Frappart became the first women to referee a men's Champions League match

Stephanie Frappart can become a role model for women referees, according to Joanna Stimpson, women's professional game refereeing manager at the FA.

French official Frappart made history last week when she became the first female to referee a men's Champions League match when she took charge of Juventus' 3-0 win over Dynamo Kiev.

Stimpson is convinced that Frappart has opened doors for other women who wish to officiate at the top level of football and that she has inspired others to follow her lead.

"We've spoken before about the huge importance of role models in football, in particular in refereeing, and it's important to have role models at every level of refereeing, especially for female referees," Stimpson told Sky Sports News.

"To have someone like Stephanie, who is really breaking down barriers at the top end of the game, is huge for the future of female refereeing, not just in the UK but all around the world.

"For girls to be able to actually see that what they dream of and what they aspire to can be a reality. I think that's what's remarkable about Stephanie and the appointments she's receiving. It proves that gender really doesn't matter in refereeing.

"Stephanie has got where she has because she is the best at what she does."

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Sian Massey-Ellis running the line
Image: Stimpson believes Sian Massey-Ellis can achieve even more in the game

High-profile female officials like Frappart can also inspire those already involved in the game to achieve even greater success, Stimpson believes.

"Girls are hugely inspired when they see stories and social media about the success of female match officials breaking down barriers, especially within the men's game but also in the women's game," she added.

"All of our match officials are ultimately ambitious in the men's and women's game.

"Before there have not been opportunities but there are now which is really exciting, especially for those like Sian [Massey-Ellis], who has achieved so much in the women's game but has so much still to achieve in the men's game."

As for the future, Stimpson thinks the growth in the popularity of women's football in England with the success of the WSL has also helped boost interest in refereeing for future generations.

"With the growth of the female game came more opportunities for female match officials in England, and with more opportunity comes more ambition," said Stimpson.

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Speaking on the The Women’s Football Show, Brighton head coach and ex-England Women’s boss Hope Powell opens up about her experience of coming out and how life became easier for her afterwards.

"We've certainly seen that in England in the growth of our numbers over the last four years, the quality of the match officials and the appointments they are receiving both domestically and internationally prove there is not just an increase in numbers but quality as well.

"It can start to become more of a career, rather than a hobby which it was previously.

"We have probably the strongest and best women's football league in the world and with that comes opportunities for the girls to challenge themselves and become better.

"There's a saying that you can't be what you can't see. Now we can see the opportunities and 100 per cent this will inspire young people to come through."

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