L’Équipe defends itself from accusations of sexism over Stéphanie Frappart’s rating

L’Équipe’s famous rating system can be notoriously harsh on players and referees alike, 10s are rarely awarded except for the most exceptional of games, and while 1s are more frequent they remain rare.

It was noticeable then that Stéphanie Frappart received a 1 from the paper for her refereeing performance during Olympique Lyonnais’s 3-0 victory over Valenciennes FC in the Coupe de France semi-final

A decision from L’Équipe that VAFC’s head coach Ahmed Kantari would likely agree with,  but one that seemed somewhat harsh, and a rating that has carried with it the accusation of sexism. 

In 2011, Frappart became a referee in the third division of French football, and from there has steadily made progress and eventually earned a role overseeing games in the top flight in 2019. 

In almost every stage of her career, Frappart has made history. She was the first woman to referee a men’s professional game in France, and the first ever to officiate a men’s Champions League game in 2020 and a men’s World Cup game in 2022. 

As well as praise for her achievements, these milestones have made her a target of intense criticism and insults. However, as L’Équipe states, their intention when awarding her with a 1 was not to “howl with wolves whose company we do not wish to keep,” as accusations of sexism began to mount over the decision. 

L’Équipe explains why it gave Stéphanie Frappart a 1 

They have defended their score by suggesting that their ratings are always up for debate and highly influenced by individual judgment and point to the fact that their team famously can never singularly agree on the score for any player. 

They continue by suggesting that Frappart had a mediocre performance that would have always earned her a 3, but specific moments like the disallowed goal and the penalty awarded to Alexandre Lacazette (32) which shaped the game, could influence their writer’s final decision. 

The paper continues by asking itself two questions: would it have awarded the same rating to a male referee? And is Frappart a victim of her own status as both a highly considered referee and a pioneer within the game? 

To the second question, L’Équipe argues that they see no relevance in repproaching her for a status that she did not choose to symbolise. They suggest considering her status when awarding her with a score would have been a form of sexism that would have disconnected her away from her role within the game to simply a figurehead for something she cannot control. 

On the point, that they would not have provided the same score to a male referee, they state that for the same reason they did not take into account her status as a pioneer in football, they did not consider her gender when awarding her the rating. 

They finish their attempt to defend and explain their score by suggesting like with refereeing there is no one fair result that will make all people happy, it is a personalised judgment call, based on an individual’s reading of the game. 

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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