Referee Stephanie Frapert conducted an exclusive interview with Europe 1 while the men’s French Cup final between Nice and Nantes was held in Stade de France on Saturday. At the age of 38, she will be the first woman to be appointed as a referee for this final. She was already the first woman to referee in the League One match in 2019, the European Super Cup that year, and the Men’s Champions League at the end of 2020. She was also elected as a referee for the upcoming Women’s Euro. In July. Stephanie Frapert talks about her position as a female referee, French arbitration, and her opinion on VAR.
How he approaches the game:
It’s probably one of my personalities to be fairly calm, confident and focused. We are very focused and deeply involved in the decisions we have to make.
Is she dreaming of going to the 2022 World Cup?
No, I’m not dreaming of anything. I dream of the final of the Coupe de France. I never had the foresight or tried to take the match one step further. In arbitration, I know that everything can collapse overnight, so I’ll pick them up one by one. Decision, and that’s it. I saw some of my colleagues whose careers were shortened with one or two decisions that were a bit unfavorable. As players say, we’re really game-by-game, and that’s really it.
Does being a woman still hurt her?
I have always been very well received by the club. Then there were some exceptions. I went to meet clubs, leaders, players, and I didn’t have any prejudices or words to say that it was a bit sexist or not. I was expected. When expected in certain matches, especially in League One, I showed that I had the skills and after three matches I was a little quieter on the media side instead of the field side.
I started in 1996, it’s been a few years. When we arrive in League One, it means we still have experience. I was in CFA 2 (5th division) 1st year, CFA (4th division) 2nd year, National 3rd year, League 2 4th or 5th year. So, inevitably, I had a technical background when I arrived. An important experience. With the best girls, I think some young girls can realize what they can do. The more players there are, the more referees and the more leaders.
How do you feel surprised that she was nominated for the Coupe de France final?
I don’t have a social network and I don’t read newspapers, so I’m very far from all of them. Some people have told me that I’m going to rage, but I’m not very attached to it. I’m more obsessed with techniques in the decisions that are made, rather than staying “what we say”. Frankly, I’m really separated from everything.
What is his opinion on French arbitration?
I think working in France is good, like what we see and international appointments. There is always something to improve and there are more and more international designations. We are recognized. In big competitions in both UEFA and FIFA. For us, that’s really a highlight. The work will be rewarded. The work of the federation and authorities is paying off today and is much better for us. We are a few people participating in all UEFA and FIFA competitions.
When do referees use VAR (Video Assistance)?
It should be remembered that there are four criteria. Penalty area status, goals, red cards, misidentifications. There are four possible entries related to VAR. Knowing that everything has been verified, we decide. All situations in the penalty area, all situations of direct exclusion related to red, all goals are checked. Then there are various situations called by VAR colleagues. We need to explain what we saw and how we decided. Then, depending on the element, he invites us to go see the image and we decide for ourselves whether to change the decision.
About the referee’s sound system:
Normally, there is no microphone for the final. At this time, I don’t have a microphone because the guarantors of the Laws of the Game, FIFA and IFAB, do not allow microphones. Perhaps in the future, we’ll see the same evolution as before, like microphones and electronic flags. Then we saw the communication system between us. Now we have a VAR. Maybe in the medium or long term, this micro is possible. But in any case, today it is not possible in competitions.
We are always accepting anything that can help and contribute to football’s influence. So we have never protested or resisted. On the other hand, there are things that aren’t very suitable for the general public, so we need to give ourselves a means and perhaps assemble things well. It may not be appropriate to watch a soccer match in every comment from the referee, but it may be appropriate to open it in certain situations.
Why doesn’t the referee speak at the end of the match?
I don’t think the expression time is the same as the players. After the match, I had to decompress a little and step back, so I was able to express myself in the media a few days later. Inevitably, when you’re in a match, whether you’re a player, manager, or otherwise, you don’t necessarily have all the elements that the general public or the media have. is not. As a result, we were the only ones who recognized the mistake when reviewing the VAR, and if we changed the decision, it could be difficult to resume immediately without this analytical capability.
About VAR decision time:
I’ve placed a VAR to get rid of this difficult nature of offside decision making in particular, but now I’m only applying the rules. Therefore, it may take some time. I understand that the emotions on the field are a bit stripped compared to the emotions on the field compared to this emotion with or without goals, but in each case I’m just applying the rules. If the rule changes, it will adapt.
How does she manage the pressure around her before the finals?
From experience, and in all of what I’ve experienced a bit, whether it’s League One, the Super Cup, or the World Cup final, we’ll focus on the rectangular part: the field and the decisions. The better the decision, the more decisions we can make. Indeed, there is a lot of work to get the whole environment out and take the decisions seriously.
Will there be more and more female referees?
i hope so. There are other girls in Europe and FIFA. It can be seen in other championships in Brazil as well as in the U-17 World Cup of the Club World Cup in Qatar a year and a half ago. I, I also share all my experiences. I work a bit with the evolving female D1 referees at the French Championships to evolve them and bring my experience and expertise. And I see more and more quality young girls arriving. Also, these are young girls who slowly reach the top level, so you need to give them time from time to time.