ZURICH, Switzerland – Senior Manager of FIFA Referees Kari Seitz is hailing the efforts put forth by CONCACAF in the advancement of female referees.
This fall in the 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF League and 2019/20 CONCACAF Nations League Qualifying, a groundbreaking measure in both CONCACAF and world football will be on display, as the seven female referees -- Chantal Boudreau (Canada), Princess Brown (Jamaica), Jassett Kerr (Jamaica), Yudilia Briones (Mexico), Karen Diaz (Mexico), Felisha Mariscal (USA), Kathryn Nesbitt (USA) – will be used in both competitions.
“CONCACAF is taking the lead when it comes to the development and advancement of female referees,” said Seitz in an exclusive interview with CONCACAF.com.
Seitz, who worked as a referee for 28 years, including 14 as a FIFA international referee covering three Olympics and four Women’s World Cups, applauds the initiative undertaken by CONCACAF Director of Refereeing Brian Hall.
“By doing what they are doing, its shows that CONCACAF has committed leadership. I’m proud to come from CONCACAF and that Brian Hall has the vision and support staff to lead this forward,” added Seitz.
Under Hall’s guidance, all women pass the same criteria as male referees, including FIFA fitness tests which are given at a CONCACAF course.
In addition, the women currently work in the top division of their respective countries and have all attended a CONCACAF referee course in the last five months.
They will be also be working at the Women’s Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups later this year, plus are in the pool of candidates for next summer’s Women’s World Cup in France.
“I hope CONCACAF is proud of opening doors for these women. It shows the vision of the confederation. They are promoting the best referees, regardless of gender. This is a positive message for everyone and FIFA is behind them,” said Seitz.
At present Seitz is hard at work preparing a group of female referees to get ready for next summer’s tournament in France.
The programs put in place by Seitz have female referees go through a thorough evaluation process to help identify which referees will be officiating the matches.
However, Seitz’s hope is that one day women will have an equal chance as men to referee in all football tournaments.
“There will be more opportunities for female referees when there is equal opportunity. The ultimate goal is that there is just one referee program, not one for women and one for men. Gender should not matter but rather the skill set and capabilities of the referee. In the end, you just want to choose from the best. Sometimes you have to take risks to find the next great referees, and that’s why I appreciate CONCACAF taking the lead on that,” said Seitz.
It is a message that Hall reinforces daily in his interaction with CONCACAF’s pool of referees and CONCACAF leadership.
“CONCACAF is focused on providing the best match officials to service the game,” said Hall to CONCACAF.com.
“Whether you are male or female is not important. What is important is your quality and meeting the requirements. We want excellent match officials regardless of gender and other factors. For this reason, we are extremely proud of the hard work of this group of assistant referees and look forward to expanding this pool in the near future. The vision of CONCACAF’s leadership is vital in encouraging our officials to reach for the top competitions,” concluded Hall.