Despite the host nation, Qatar‘s, heavily restrictive laws over women, the FIFA World Cup beginning on Sunday will be making strides in gender equality with female referees officiating the male World Cup matches for the first time in the history of football’s biggest tournament .
Salima Mukansanga, one of the three female referees who will officiate at a men’s World Cup for the first time, says they have not been chosen 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
“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. So being here means we deserve to be here, it’s not a change or because we are women,” affirms Mukansanga.
Female referees will not be subjected to restrictions based on cultural or religious grounds in matches involving conservative nations such as Iran, Saudi Arabia or Qatar.
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FIFA president calls out hypocrisy of World Cup 2022 critics
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has accused World Cup critics of hypocrisy during a news conference on the eve of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Infantino’s comments come the day before the World Cup begins in a country which has been criticised over a range of human rights issues since it was named as host of the tournament twelve years ago, including allegations of human rights violations and treatment of migrant workers.
Homosexuality is illegal in the conservative Muslim country, and some soccer players have raised concerns for fans travelling to the event, especially lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and women, who rights groups say Qatari laws discriminate against.
FIFA announced on Friday that alcoholic beer would not be sold at stadiums.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino commented on what he deems a double standard by the west with respect to questioning the morals and labour practices of Qatar.
“We are told many, many lessons from some Europeans, from the Western world. I am European. Actually, I am European. Not just I feel European. I think for what we have been doing for 3 000 years around the world, we should be apologising for the next 3 000 years before starting to give moral lessons to people,” Infantino said referring specifically to the criticism against Qatar on the treatment of migrant workers.
The FIFA president has urged those already in Qatar as well as those who will be in the country to cover the tournament for the media globally to look to the joys the 29-day festival of football will bring.