1. ITV Report

Stéphanie Frappart's 22-year journey to referee European Super Cup

Stephane Frappart will referee Liverpool v Chelsea. Credit: PA

Stéphanie Frappart will make history on Wednesday night when she takes charge of the European Super Cup clash between Liverpool and Chelsea in Istanbul.

The French referee will become the first woman to officiate a major men's European match when she blows the whistle at kick-off inside Vodafone Park.

Frappart will be assisted by compatriot Manuela Nicolosi and the Republic of Ireland's Michelle O'Neill for the match between the winners of the Champions League and Europa League.

This is not Frappart's first major match this year, as she refereed the Women's World Cup final in her homeland in July.

The refereeing team for the Super Cup. Credit: PA

Within French football 35-year-old Frappart is highly regarded, refereeing in the country's men's second division since 2014, before being promoted to Ligue 1 in April 2019 when she took charge of a goalless draw between Amiens and Strasbourg.

Frappart's journey to the European Super Cup started aged 13. “I played football, but I also wanted to learn about the Laws of the Game, so I started refereeing, and continued both playing and refereeing until the age of 20, when I had to make a choice," Frappart explains. "At the time, women’s football structures were still developing, so I felt that it would be better for me to go on as a referee.”

Frappart refereed the Women's World Cup final. Credit: PA

She is often the person who goes most unnoticed in the matches she referees, the sign of a quality referee. Her competence has not gone unnoticed and she has been promoted full-time to the list of officials for the French top-flight for the 2019/20 season.

Frappart's rise up the ladder has surprised no one thanks to her calmness on the pitch, which allows her to control the match.

The Lille manager, Christophe Galtier, told French media: “She is very diplomatic. And when you’re a manager, a man under pressure, you get frustrated … but she just has to give you a look, a smile or a gesture to make you stop.”

During her career refereeing professional men's matches she has handed out 362 yellow cards and 11 red cards in 143 matches.

Frappart hopes her promotion to a high-profile match such as the one between Liverpool and Chelsea can help to inspire others. “I hope it serves as an example to female referees, and to any young girls who may aspire to be a referee,” Frappart said.

Frappart, right, took charge of her first Ligue 1 game in April. Credit: PA

The appointment of Frappart and her assistants has been warmly welcomed by the managers in Istanbul.

Chelsea boss Lampard said of the all-female refereeing team: "It's great news, great news.

"I am very pleased to be a part of this moment in history. It is very much due."

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp added: "I'm very happy we can be part of a historical moment.

"I will show my best face if possible - otherwise my mum will be angry! It's the first one, it's special, but I hope it's not the last time."

Frappart is very happy to take in her stride and will not be fussed by the extra scrutiny she will undoubtedly be under on Wednesday.

"I think there is not a lot difference, because football is the same."