Anoud Al Asmari, Saudi Arabia’s first female international soccer referee

Anoud Al Asmari, 34, was named an international referee by FIFA and becomes the first woman with that status in Saudi Arabia, less than a year after the first match played by a Saudi women’s soccer team.

"I am happy to be the first Saudi female referee to receive international status in Saudi sports history."Al Asmari told AFP. Seven other referees, men, received that status on Thursday.

Asked about the possibility of seeing him referee a match between men’s teams, Anoud Al Asmari stated that he would not think about it as long as such a circumstance had not received the endorsement of the Saudi Football Federation.

The Saudi kingdom, whose team surprised the future champion Argentina in the World Cup in Qatar-2022, is in the middle of a campaign to promote its football and the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo (37 years old) has just signed for Al Nassr, a country club.

Saudi Arabia also plans to aspire to host the 2030 World Cup, in a joint bid with Egypt and Greece.

A women’s soccer championship has been organized in Saudi Arabia since November 2021 and the women’s national team, coached by Germany’s Monica Stapp, beat Seychelles 2-0 in their first match last February.

Saudi Arabia is also aiming to host the Women’s Asian Cup in 2026 and is currently the only candidate to host the Men’s Asian Cup in 2027.

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