The truth is that there are more men in football than women and this transcends to the referee profession too. However, in this piece, we’ll highlight the very best female soccer referees available in the modern era.
First, the good news is that there are more females joining the football profession now than ever before. We now see more and more female officials in today’s game.
The number of female referees in England is up by 72% from 2016 and the FA now has over 2000 women officiating across all levels.
Here, we look at 10 of the best female soccer referees around the world, leading the way for female referees in the beautiful game.
10. Rita Gana
Rita Gana is no doubt one of the best female Soccer Referees and she is a Malaysian association football referee. Beginning in 2004, she was added in 2006 to the international list of referees.
In 2014, she won the Asian Football Confederation woman referee of the year, having officiated in the semi-final of the women’s Asian cup and 5 other games in the tournament.
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9. Fernanda Colombo
Fernanda is a Brazilian-born referee and journalist. In 2014, she received praise when officiating games in the Copa De Brazil that year.
At the men’s 2018 world cup in Russia, she was appointed as an official judge.
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8. Amy Fearn
Refereeing from the age of 14, Amy became the first woman to referee a football league match after the initial referee was injured with 20 minutes to go.
Amy Fearn also was the first woman to officiate an FA cup main draw match.
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7. Claudia Umpierrez
Qualifying in 2004, Claudia was the referee for the first time in Uruguay’s main competition where all 4 officials were female.
She also became the first woman in 2016 to referee an Uruguayan premier league match.
Claudia Umpierrez was at the 2015 women’s world cup and in 2015 and 16 she was on the list of the best referees in the world by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS).
Without any doubt, Claudia Umpierrez is one of the best female Soccer Referees.
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6. Kateryna Monzul
In April 2016, Monzul became the first woman to referee a game in her home country of Ukraine’s top division.
Monzul is also a top international referee of the women’s game, appearing at 7 major women’s tournaments with 4 world cups and 3 euros.
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5. Sian Massey-Ellis
A familiar face to most premier league fans, Sian has been an assistant or 4th official in the premier league since 2010.
Massey-Ellis also ran the line at the 2007 women’s world cup and 2009 women’s European championships.
4. Rebecca Welch
Rebecca Welch will mostly be remembered for being the first female appointed to referee a football league match between Harrogate and port vale in March 2021
Welch has been a Women’s super league ref since 2017 and has officiated two women’s FA cup finals.
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3. Bibiana Steinhaus
Having been the referee of the 2017 UEFA women’s champion’s league final, the Bundesliga made her the first female to referee in the German top flight.
Steinhaus has won world Female ref of the year 4 times in 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2018. She also won the world female referee of the decade stretching from 2011 to 2020.
Indeed, Steinhaus is one of the best female soccer referees in the modern era.
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2. Stéphanie Frappart
Stephanie was the first woman to take charge of a Men’s Ligue 1 match, the first to referee a champion’s league match, and also the first to lead a men’s international qualifying game.
She has been refereeing men’s football in France since 2009 and was the referee at the 2015 women’s world cup final.
All of these things have led her to win Female Referee of the year in 2019 and 2020 consecutively.
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1. Nicole Petignat
The former Swiss ref was a pioneer female referee and became the first to officiate a men’s football match organized by UEFA when in 2003 AIK and Fylkir met in a UEFA cup qualifier.
Overall, she refereed 93 Switzerland top-flight games including the Swiss cup final in 2007. She has also led a Women’s World Cup final and euro final.
Given her experience over the years, Nicole Petignat is one of the best female Soccer Referees.
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Final Thought On Female Soccer Referees
Overall, these referees are paving the way for more young girls to get into refereeing and are continually breaking records and taking female refereeing to new heights that hadn’t been seen before.
Hopefully, over the next few years, we see more and more women officiating at the top level of the game across all nations and competitions.