Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita is among the historic inclusion of five female officials, including two referees, at the upcoming men’s Asian Cup in Qatar next year.
The historic inclusion: On Thursday, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) selected referees Yamashita and Katherine Jacewicz of Australia as the female match officials for its marquee men’s event, reported Reuters. The assistants include Japan’s Makoto Bozono and Naomi Teshirogi and South Korea’s Kim Kyoung Min.
“For the first time ever, women match officials are poised to make their debut at Asia’s most prestigious men’s national team competition,” he AFC said in a statement, according to AFP.
About Yamashita: Yamashita, a 37-year-old former soccer player, previously officiated at the men’s World Cup in Qatar last year. She has reportedly broken gender stereotypes by officiating both male and female soccer matches in Japan and internationally.
Her previous selection for the World Cup has challenged outdated views, inspiring women in various sports to pursue officiating roles. The trend toward gender equality in refereeing has been growing with efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity in traditionally male-dominated sports, such as baseball and rugby.
Event details: The AFC also announced that its video assistant referee system will make its “full debut” at the tournament, according to AFP.
The 24-team Asian Cup tournament, which runs from Jan. 12 to Feb. 10, is being held in Qatar after China had to stand down due to the country’s COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.