— Published 6 January 2023

FIFA honours Saudi woman

Another step forward for women’s sport. One month after France’s Stéphanie Frappart, the first female referee to officiate at a men’s World Cup, Saudi Arabia’s Anoud Al-Asmari (pictured above) has taken her place in the gallery of pioneers. On Thursday 5 January, she was appointed by FIFA to become her country’s first female international referee. The 34-year-old is one of eight Saudi officials selected by the body for international referee status. For the past two years, Saudi Arabia has been stepping up initiatives to develop and promote women’s football. A championship has been organised since November 2021. The women’s national team played its first official match in February, a game against the Seychelles, which it won 2-0. The kingdom is also a candidate to host the Women’s Asian Cup in 2026.