Sian Massey-Ellis is on the brink of making new history as she prepares to become the first female to officiate in a men’s European fixture.
The Premier League assistant referee will run the line during tonight’s Europa League game between PSV Eindhoven and Linzer ASK at the Philips Stadion.
Massey-Ellis will be joined by Chris Kavanagh, as well as assistant Dan Cook and fourth official Peter Bankes.
“It was really exciting when I found out,” said Sian, via the FA website.
“And I was obviously chuffed for [referee] Chris Kavanagh as well. In fact, when the appointment first came out, we tried to ring each other at the exact same moment and we both got each other’s answerphone!
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“But it’s a big achievement for me personally, it’s been a dream of mine to officiate in a European competition and I’m delighted to be able to tick it off.”
A timeline of female officials
August 1994/95: Wendy Toms becomes the first woman to be included on the list of Football League assistant referees.
1995: Toms also becomes the first woman to officiate in the English top flight. Gordon Strachan courts controversy by slamming it as a “PC decision”, adding: “It does not matter if they are ladies, men or Alsatian dogs.”
2011: Pundits Richard Keys and Andy Gray leave Sky Sports for making sexist remarks about Massey for an offside call. She had it spot on.
2018: By this stage, there are only four female referees who only work in the Women’s Super League. The rest also officiate in men’s football in some capacity.
April 2019 – Stéphanie Frappart takes charge of a European top-flight game in the Ligue 1 fixture between Amiens and Strasbourg.
August 2019: Massey-Ellis becomes the first woman to officiate in the Community Shield between Premier League runners-up and champions Manchester City.
August 2019: Frappart takes charge of the UEFA Super Cup between Liverpool and Chelsea. Frank Lampard calls it a “historic moment” and Jurgen Klopp adds that “it is time”.
Ahead of her latest milestone, Massey-Ellis gave a nod to those who have gone before her, including Frappart – arguably the most high-profile female referee around after taking charge of the Women’s World Cup final.
“I think that it’s definitely becoming more normal to see female officials in the men’s game,” Massey-Ellis added.
“Stéphanie Frappart refereeing the Europa Super Cup was a big moment, ultimately it shouldn’t matter what gender, race or religion anyone is, it’s about going out there and doing your job as best you can.”