There can be no doubt that both FIFA and UEFA, the two major governing bodies of football, are keen to accelerate the growth of women officials at all levels of the game.
The appointment of an all-female refereeing team is a clear statement of their strategy.
A team of women match officials taking charge of the England national team for the first time wan an historic and huge step, and hopefully sends a signal to the Football Association that they must accelerate more women match officials at all levels of the game.
Referee Kateryna Monzul, along with fellow Ukrainian assistant referees Maryna Striletska and Svitlana Grushko, stepped out onto the field with smiles on their faces knowing that they were making history during Andorra vs England.
Pierluigi Collina, FIFA’s Head of Referees, will have in-depth knowledge of this team, given that for a period of time he was the boss of Ukraine’s match officials, introducing new referee training procedures.
The VAR, Stephanie Frappart of France, is now a seasoned official, having officiated a number of UEFA games, and was also at Euro 2020.
However, the fourth official and assistant VAR for Andorra vs England were both male – Denys Shurman and Viktor Matyash.
The team of officials will be delighted with their performances in the one-sided affair, in which England dominated possession.
One of the big decisions was the award of a penalty kick to England. Referee Monzul was ideally positioned to detect and correctly punish the foul, and her signal to award the penalty was given with conviction.
She also detected the illegal use of the elbow by Andorra’s number four, Marc Rebes, in the 55th minute and rightly showed him a yellow card.
However, when this same player once again used his elbow as a weapon in the 66th minute, he should’ve received a second yellow followed by the red.
Monzul decided to warn him, and this is the one decision that I was critical of in a performance that contained many positives.
The FA and the PGMOL must look to create a pathway to the top for women officials and I wonder if we will see a team of women officials take charge of a Premier League game in the next five to ten years.