TOKYO ( Associated Press) – Japanese referee Yoshimi Yamashita agrees with Pele or whoever described football as a “beautiful sport” decades ago.
Yamashita is one of three women who have been selected by FIFA as a referee at the Men’s World Cup starting on 21 November in Qatar. This is the first time a woman will be in charge of football’s biggest stage.
She sees her work this way: Let the game shine as it should.
“One of the big goals as a referee is to bring out the allure of football,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press in Tokyo on Monday. “I do my best for it, and I will do what I need to do at that time. So if I need to communicate with the players, I will do that. If I have to show the cards, I will show the cards.” Instead of control, I’m wondering what to do toward the larger goal of bringing out the appeal of soccer.
France’s Stephanie Fraparte and Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga are the other women elected. There are 36 referees in total. FIFA also named three female assistant referees to the pool of 69: Nuza Bac of Brazil, Karen Diaz Medina of Mexico and Katherine Nesbitt of the United States.
While it is likely that all three will be in charge of the game, this is not a given. He would also be used on the sidelines as the so-called “fourth referee”. However, they cannot be used as adjuncts.
“Each match official will be carefully monitored over the next month, with a final assessment on technical, physical and medical aspects to be done shortly before the World Cup,” FIFA’s director of referees, Massimo Busca, said in a statement.
Yamashita’s selection focuses on Japan’s low ranking in most measures of equal pay for women and in global studies of gender equality.
Only 14.3% of seats in Japan’s national legislature are held by women – 152 out of 190 countries in a study published several months ago by the US Congressional Research Service., Another study on the gender pay gap ranked Japan 120th out of 156 countries.
“I would be very happy if women could take an active part in sports like this, and if sports, and football in particular, could lead that,” Yamashita said. “In Japan, there is still a long way to go in the world of football (with regard to women’s participation), so it would be great if it connected with promoting women’s participation not only in football or sports, but in various ways. Are. “
Women’s football has taken the lead in Japan. The Japanese women won the 2011 Women’s World Cup, finished runners-up in 2015, and have been consistently among the sport’s elite teams.
Yamashita workouts outside Tokyo on Monday, with temperatures reaching 35 °C (95 F). That laughter when he was reminded that games in Qatar – located at one end of the Arabian Peninsula – would be colder in the northern hemisphere’s winter and played in air-conditioned stadiums.
Yamashita looked relaxed during the interview, letting go of the obvious pressure. She has been a referee in Japan’s Men’s J League, and has also been in charge of the Asian counterpart of the Men’s Champions League. She also handled matches during last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
“Of course, I think the pressure is huge,” she said, “and I feel like I have a lot of responsibility. But I’m really happy about this duty and the pressure, so I try to take it positively.” I do and try to be happy.
He described the excitement of leaving the waiting room just before the match.
“I think it makes me happy in that moment. I feel like that’s when I switch gears the most,” she said.
He said the difference between the men’s and women’s games was certainly one of speed. But not only that some men can run faster.
“It’s not the pace, but only the speed of the players,” she said. “Not the speed of the ball. It’s just the pace of the game. That means for me I have to make quicker decisions – more speed.”
Yamashita conducted most of the interviews in Japanese, but said she would use English and “facial gestures, body gestures” when communicating with players in Qatar.
“Usually when I hand out the card, I don’t say anything,” she said, moving in English. “But when I warn, I tell them I’m not happy. They get it.”
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