Switzerland’s Esther Staubli created history when she became the first female referee to officiate a match at the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Esther, who hails from Bern, officiated the match between Japan and New Caledonia at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.
In line with FIFA’s objective to further develop women’s football, Esther Staubli is one of seven women referees invited to the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 in India. The other six women referees are Kateryna Monzul, Anna-Marie Keighley, Claudia Umpierrez, Carol Anne Chenard, Gladys Lengwe, RI Hyang Ok. They have completed a host of activities together in a series of seminars, including theoretical sessions in the classroom and practical sessions on the field of play.
The benefits of joining forces are mutual when men and women team up to hone their interpretation, positioning and decision-making abilities. Another positive aspect is that the women referees have an opportunity to gain more experience. High-level competition matches are often limited during the year in their respective regions and so such opportunities are crucial as the referees prepare for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019. In having the opportunity to now work together with their male colleagues at the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017, FIFA’s female referees are one step further in their preparation and in their careers at the top level.
Esther Staubli has also officiated at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, UEFA Women’s Champions League Final, 2015 Olympic Women’s Football Tournament Rio 2016, UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 Final. She also teaches at an agricultural school in Bern, Switzerland. The 38-year old says it is not possible to live from refereeing and thus she teaches in the school. Staubli has been on the FIFA International Referees List since 2006.