9 months ago

Women referees to officiate at Men's Asian Cup in Qatar

Japanese referee Yoshimi Yamashita
Japanese referee Yoshimi Yamashita

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The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced that women referees, including Japanese trailblazer Yoshimi Yamashita, will make their debut at the men's Asian Cup scheduled to take place in Qatar next year. This historic decision marks a significant step forward for women in the sport and is set to redefine the landscape of football refereeing in Asia.

Yoshimi Yamashita, who had earlier been selected as a referee for the 2022 men's World Cup in Qatar, is among the five women chosen to officiate at the prestigious regional championship scheduled for January and February. Her selection recognises her exceptional skills and highlights the growing acceptance of women in traditionally male-dominated roles within the football community.

"For the first time ever, women match officials are poised to make their debut at Asia's most prestigious men's national team competition," the AFC stated in a press release, emphasising the significance of this milestone for the sport.

Adding to the technological advancements in the game, the tournament will also see the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system make its 'full debut,' enhancing the accuracy of crucial decisions on the field.

The 2023 Asian Cup will witness another significant change, with a record-breaking 24 teams participating, making it the most extensive edition in the tournament's history. Hosts Qatar, the reigning champions, will aim to defend their title on home soil.

Japan and South Korea, two football powerhouses in Asia, are expected to be among the favourites following their impressive performances at the 2022 Men's World Cup in Qatar, where both teams reached the Round of 16.

This landmark decision comes shortly after the AFC's announcement last month to launch an Asian women's Champions League soon, further demonstrating the organisation's commitment to promoting women's involvement in football at all levels.

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