Kateryna Monzul: England fans full of praise for trailblazing referee

Football fans have been full of praise for Kateryna Monzul, who became the first woman to referee an England men’s international match yesterday

Football fans have been full of praise for Kateryna Monzul, who became the first woman to referee an England men’s international match yesterday.

An all-female officiating team was named for England’s World Cup qualifier against Andorra. Ukraine’s Kateryna Monzul took charge of the match, helped by compatriots Maryna Striletska and Svitlana Grushko as assistant referees.

Stephanie Frappart of France, who became the first woman to officiate a World Cup qualifying match in March, was the VAR.

Monzul earned widespread praise on Twitter as the Three Lions defeated Andorra 5-0.

One social media user wrote: "This ref has been pretty spot on, I can't lie", while another posted: "Tell you what, you wouldn't argue with this lady ref in the England game!!!"

"Absolutely loving Kateryna Monzul in this game," another Twitter user wrote. "First ever female ref for an England game. Flawless. Of course, that's its own issue: she's had to be 100 times better than the men to get here. Nevertheless, she's brilliant and just seeing her is a real buzz."

The plaudits continued, with Monzul described as "very good". Others pointed out the significance of an all-female officiating team in charge of a men’s football match.

Ben Chilwell, Bukayo Saka, Tammy Abraham, James Ward-Prowse and Jack Grealish were all on the scoresheet for England, who have now earned 19 points from seven matches in their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Although it was the first time a senior England men’s match was officiated by a woman, Monzul has experience in refereeing a men’s international game before.

She was part of the all-female team officiating San Marino’s Nations League clash against Gibraltar in November 2020. Monzul also has experience at Women's World Cups and European Championships.

Given her extensive experience in refereeing, it should not be surprising that Monzul was able to perform well during England’s clash against Andorra. Progress still needs to be made to ensure football fans are not amazed by a high-quality female referee.

It was shown last week that attitudes are still in the past, with former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg making "lazy" and "disrespectful" comments about female officials.

Clattenburg made the comments on talkSPORT Breakfast during an interview with hosts Alan Brazil and Ally McCoist, and England rugby player Joe Marler.

He claimed female referees needed to make a choice between a career in men’s football or having children.

"The problem with women is, and certainly in refereeing, certainly in football, they have a difficult path where, if they get pregnant during their refereeing career, it can stop them a long way," Clattenburg said.

"They’ve got to make this choice – do they want to be pregnant and have children, or do they want to be referees."

Clattenburg was widely criticised for his comments, including from TalkSPORT’s female presenters and Women in Football chief executive Jane Purdon.

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