World Cup referee Yoshimi Yamashita among first women match officials at Asian Cup

FILE - Referee Yoshimi Yamashita gives directions to players during the Women's World Cup round of 16 soccer match between the Netherlands and South Africa at the Sydney Football Stadium in Sydney, Australia, on Aug. 6, 2023. Soccer referee Yoshimi Yamashita is returning to Qatar to make more soccer history at the men’s Asian Cup in January. She also worked there last year at the men’s World Cup in the first wave of women match officials picked by FIFA. The Asian Football Confederation has picked Yamashita and Katherine Jacewicz of Australia among the referees. (AP Photo/Mark Baker) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Referee Yoshimi Yamashita will return to Qatar to make more soccer history at the men’s Asian Cup in January after she worked in the country last year at the men’s World Cup.

Yamashita is among five female match officials, including two referees, picked Thursday by the Asian Football Confederation to work in Qatar. The tournament runs form Jan. 12 to Feb. 10.

It is the first time the AFC has appointed female match officials for its marquee men's event.

Katherine Jacewicz of Australia was also picked among the referees. The assistants selected are Makoto Bozono and Naomi Teshirogi of Japan, and Kim Kyoung Min of South Korea.

The 24-team Asian Cup will be played in most of the same stadiums as the men's World Cup, where Yamashita served as the fourth official for six group games.

Yamashita was one of three female referees picked by FIFA for the men's World Cup. Stephanie Frappert of France made history working the Germany-Costa Rica game in the group stage.

In April, Yamashita led the first all-female team of match officials for a game in the J-League, Japan's top league.

The AFC said the video review system will be used for the entire tournament for the first time. At the 2019 tournament, video review started being used at the quarterfinal stage.


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