Ligue 1 to have first female referee for Amiens vs. Strasbourg clash

A female referee will take charge of a Ligue 1 game for the first time this weekend in an historic move for French football.

Stephanie Frappart will officiate the top flight contest between Amiens and Strasbourg on Sunday, making the step up after five years as a Ligue 2 referee.

It remains to be seen whether Frappart will become a permanent fixture in Ligue 1 next season, but France's refereeing chief, Pascal Garibian, said her upcoming role at the FIFA Women's World Cup was a factor behind the move -- and in particular the use of VAR, which is not in operation in Ligue 2.

"FIFA have encouraged federations to prepare the selected referees, notably in terms of VAR," Garibian told RMC. "There will perhaps be more matches between now and the World Cup.

"It is to give her time on the pitch in top level football with VAR. There are no small matches now, it's Stephanie's first Ligue 1 game. Our aim is prepare her for a top level game.

"We don't designate promoted referees for high stakes games, especially at the end of the season -- and Stephanie hasn't been promoted yet. We will see at the end of the season what her evaluation is after the Ligue 2 campaign."

Garibian also made it clear the move was far from a publicity stunt.

"In recent months, Stephanie has been designated for some very big Ligue 2 matches and hasn't been selected by chance -- it's not just training," he added. "It's time on the pitch, yes, but we have total faith in her taking charge of the game."

Frappart has taken charge of 14 Ligue 2 games this season, approaching her average of 15 per campaign since she made her second-tier bow in August 2014.