‘It’s hard to accept’: Refereeing in the spotlight in the aftermath of the first Coupe de France semi-final

Beaten Coupe de France semi-finalists Valenciennes FC ( Ligue 2) have been left disappointed by the standard of refereeing in their 3-0 defeat to Olympique Lyonnais, reveals L’Équipe .

Referee Stéphanie Frappart, one of France’s premier referees who has officiated occasions such as the World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup, has come under furious scrutiny, with L’Équipe awarding her performance a very rare 1/10 and provoking a separate scandal in which the French sports daily has been accused of sexism. 

Speaking immediately after the game, Valenciennes midfielder Anthony Knockaert bemoaned Mme. Frappart’s decisions in his interview with beIN sports: 

” I thought we were going to do it. For the penalty, I haven’t seen the images but it seemed very soft. Just before that, there was the same for us but the referee didn’t blow in our favour, but she didn’t hesitate to blow in the box. Is this just because Lyon is a big club? I don’t know. I’m biting my tongue, they can suspend me, I don’t care because it’s hard on us. It’s hard to accept, as the bottom team in Ligue 2, when you see scenes like that”. 

Valenciennes coach Ahmed Kantari struck a more moderate tone:

“I’m allowed to say “No comment”, You already know my opinion, there was no foul when we scored. They scored a penalty that they got when Lacazette was leaning on my defender, but I’m not going to criticise the refereeing team. Everyone will have their opinion but, considering our first-half performance, these events weighed heavily on the game.

However, I am not going to let anger submerge me, I am happy with what be brought to the game on a technical and tactical level. We will take inspiration for this match into our Ligue 2 campaign, the players cannot give any less than this until the end of the season. 

Lyon progressed to the Coupe de France final, where they will face the winners of tonight’s semi final, either Paris Saint-Germain or Stade Rennais, on May 25th. Three second-half goals from Lacazette (2) and Gift Orban finally broke Valenciennes brave resistance. 

GFFN | Jack McArdle



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