England great Smith questions FIFA’s all-woman referees World Cup rule

‘If the female officials aren’t up to the level, bring in a male one’: England great Sue Smith questions FIFA’s all-woman referees rule at World Cup and calls for the best to be used going forward after Cameroon VAR farce

  • The governing body have had a female-only rule for the competition since 1995 
  • There was significant criticism of Qin Liang’s display in England vs Cameroon 
  • Sue Smith has suggested male referees should be allowed in the competition 

FIFA should allow male officials at the Women’s World Cup, according to England great Sue Smith.

The governing body have had a female-only rule for the competition since 1995 and leave it up to individual confederations to nominate the ‘elite referees’ used in the tournament.

There has been significant criticism of the standard of some officiating after Qin Liang’s performance during England’s contentious win against Cameroon at the weekend. 

There has been significant criticism of Qin Liang’s performance during England’s recent game 

And Smith, who picked up 93 caps for England, added her voice to those suggesting FIFA should not just rely on female officials. 

Speaking at a William Hill World Cup event, Smith said: ‘It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, if you’re good enough you should be officiating. 

‘A combination would be good, some of the male referees who have refereed in the Champions League or big games under big pressure, who know the VAR system and how it’s implemented and what they should do, that would have been a great call. 

‘If the female officials aren’t up to the level they should be up to, you bring in a male official that is. I’m all for that. 

Sue Smith has suggested that male officials should be involved at the Women’s World Cup

‘I’m also up for growing women officials more, of course, and making sure they get better and better, but if they’re not good enough… it’s a massive tournament, you want them to be the best they can possibly be.

‘We’ve had some good officials but then we’ve had some really poor ones that haven’t got control of the game and (Qin Liang) was one of them. 

‘There needs to be more education and support to develop and improve them.’

England Women are 7/1 with William Hill to win the Women’s World Cup 




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