When Stéphanie Frappart meets Juventus Turin with Christiano Ronaldo on Wednesday, it will not be the first time that stars of world football will be dancing to her tune. Last year she already whistled the whistle in the Supercup final between Liverpool FC with coach Jürgen Klopp and Chelsea (5-4 on penalties). In French Ligue 1 - in which Champions League finalists Paris St. Germain with coach Thomas Tuchel and superstar Kylian Mbappé kick among others - she has been whistling the whistle regularly at top level men's games since April 2019. This season, she has already been a referee at two matches of the Men's European League. In addition, the currently probably world's best female referee 2019 has whistled the final of the Women's World Cup between the USA and the Netherlands.
Stéphanie Frappart grew up with her favourite sport, football. As a child she played football in Herblay-sur-Seine and at CS Pierrelaye. Most of the time she played in midfield. Parallel to her active career as a footballer, she trained as a referee "to get to know the rules better". At the age of 18 she ended her own sporting career and from then on devoted herself to that as a referee. An orphaned decision: she whistled her first men's games at 19 and from then on climbed the career ladder in the French football leagues ever higher. The meteoric rise has done nothing to change her modest outlook on life: "I'm better known now, but I'm still a good player. But it's the same for me. Football's the same, the rules are the same. Even in the Champions League.
The historic premiere as the first female referee in the men's Champions League is also worthwhile financially for Stéphanie Frappart. The European Football Union Uefa divides the impartial players into different classes and pays them per mission. The top category, Elite, receives 4,800 euros per game, and from the quarter finals in the Champions League or Europa Legaue onward, it is even 5,800 euros. In addition, there is a daily flat rate of 200 euros from the day of arrival to the day of departure. However, the lucrative refereeing job is not Frappart's only source of income: the 36-year-old works full-time for the French workers' sports association FSGT.
The men's football world raves about Stéphanie Frappart's performances on the green pitch. "If we had played the way she whistled, we would have won 6:0," enthused Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp, after the Uefa Supercup final, which she narrowly won on penalties. All the experts, like Jürgen Klopp, attested her a "flawless performance" in this game: You can't whistle better than that. She and her assistants correctly assessed all situations and withstood the great pressure." The former world referee Mark Clattenburg praised: "That was brilliant. She had everything under control at all times." Experts attest that the only 1.64 meter tall woman has a "natural authority". Therefore she has the "equipment to survive on the big stage", as Uefa referee chief Roberto Rosetti once explained.
Stéphanie Frappart's German counterpart is Bundesliga referee Bibiana Steinhaus. The German was also in the Champions League at the end of October - but "only" as a video referee. The policewoman was not allowed to play a "real" match in a Uefa competition for men. Instead, the Hanoverian has been the only woman in the Bundesliga to belong to the Referees' Guild since 2017. Steinhaus ended her active career on the pitch in September 2020 by heading the Supercup final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. She had to overcome many prejudices in the men's world: "Performance must be the cornerstone of every decision about whether or not to play on the pitch - regardless of who brings it. Whether man or woman, Protestant or Catholic." Stéphanie Frappart is now setting the next milestone for women in football in the Champions League.