VAR signals new frontier for women’s football
Fifa confirmed last week that the video assistant referee system will be used in women’s football for the first time at the Women’s World Cup in France this summer, after making its tournament debut in the men’s World Cup in Russia last summer.
Refereeing in the women’s game often finds itself under scrutiny due to a perceived reluctance to punish dangerous challenges. Training camps are infrequent and until two years ago, the FA did not have anyone overseeing the quality of refereeing in the women’s game. They only introduced an assessment system to grade its referees’ performances in 2016 after being prompted by Chelsea boss Emma Hayes.
No senior women’s domestic or international competitions use VAR, but the 27 referees and 48 assistant referees selected for the Women’s World Cup have already taken part in VAR training at a camp in Qatar last month.
Good weekend for…
Spanish women’s football, which set a new attendance record for a European top-flight domestic women’s game when a crowd of 60,739 watched Toni Duggan’s Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano, the home of Atletico’s men’s team.
The most encouraging thing, however, is that the previous record had only been standing since January this year, when 48,121 attended Athletic Bilbao’s cup game against Atletico at the San Mames Stadium. For context, the largest crowd for a domestic women’s game in England in the modern era was the 45,423 at last year’s Women’s FA Cup final.