Salima Mukansanga, one of the three female referees who will officiate at a men’s World Cup for the first time, said they have been chosen for the tournament in Qatar not simply based on their gender but because they deserve the chance.
Rwanda’s Mukansanga, Yamashita Yoshimi of Japan and Frenchwoman Stephanie Frappart along with three female assistant referees have been selected for the World Cup, which begins on Sunday.
“We are here because we deserve to be here. Back at our confederation, or back at home it is another level, so this is the biggest level of football,” Mukansanga told reporters in Doha on Friday.
“So being here means we deserve to be here, it’s not a change or because we are women.”
Assistant referee Kathryn Nesbitt of the United States said they feel welcome.
“We feel like we are one referee team here, no difference man or woman,” she said.