Egypt’s women football referees seek league promotion

On the sidelines of a small football pitch at a college in Cairo, Hanan Hassan remembers beginning out as a referee and the response she bought from one feminine participant’s mom.

“In a loud voice she yelled as she was looking towards me: ‘god bless you my daughter and I hope that my own daughter becomes like you’,” Hassan remembers, proudly.

For years, women referees in Egypt have officiated at lower-level football matches however now have their sights set on the premier league.

“My colleagues abroad have already presided over the men’s tournaments in their countries, so why not in Egypt?” requested fellow referee Mona Atalla.

Wearing trousers and a pink shirt carrying the FIFA brand, Hassan and Atalla, each 37, presided over the night all-women pleasant sport at Ain Shams College within the Egyptian capital.

Whereas Hassan began her profession as knowledgeable referee in 2006, Atalla was a part of the primary group of feminine referees registered in Egypt in 1998 who have been allowed to supervise all-women and junior male tournaments.

After years on the pitch, Atalla and her feminine colleague Pousy Mentioned have been lastly allowed in April to officiate a match within the males’s second and third division leagues.

The choice by the Egyptian Football Affiliation’s referee committee raised hopes that women referees will quickly be holding the pink and yellow playing cards within the top-tier premier league.

Atalla has already labored at worldwide women’s tournaments, together with the under-20s World Cup.

“Our expertise is not inferior to that of the male referees, and the law (on football refereeing) is the same and should be implemented,” she added.

Hassan, who additionally holds a world referee licence, argued women may very well have a bonus on the pitch.

“If the men’s game does include some violence, the presence of a female referee could push some players to be more appropriate,” she mentioned, standing tall on the pitch along with her hair lined.

“It is natural for me to hand my decisions with a smile so that I absorb the anger of the person in front of me,” Hassan quipped.

Combating prejudice

There are simply 15 women working as referees in Egypt, out of 60 registered with the nation’s FA, in keeping with referee committee head Azab Haggag.

He sees no cause for women to not officiate extra high-profile matches, “but it has to be done gradually so that the fans are more prepared for it and accept it.”

Atalla, whose brothers and husband are additionally referees, mentioned she has seen attitudes change through the years.

At first “some people saw it as strange for women to be playing football, and even more so for them to be officials… with the decision held in her hands,” she mentioned.

“As the job was being practised by women who do their jobs perfectly, people have become very proud of their presence in the field,” mentioned Atalla.

However because the women referees are preventing to achieve extra floor, Haggag mentioned the FA has obtained some complaints from feminine gamers.

Norhan Hamdy, a 21-year-old who was enjoying within the sport at Ain Shams College, is likely one of the footballers who objects to women referees.

“As a female football player I prefer that a man officiates my games,” mentioned Hamdy, who believes some women referees are influenced by their feelings and might be biased in the direction of their pals.

Decided to see women referees promoted to the upper leagues, Atalla mentioned such prejudices should be confronted: “We must fight this thought.”

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