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Klopp backs Frappart on historic night for female match officials

Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for Stephanie Frappart after she became the first female referee to officiate a major men’s European match on Wednesday.

Frappart took charge of the UEFA Super Cup clash between Liverpool and Chelsea in Istanbul and produced a polished performance.

Along with her all-female team of assistant referees, Manuela Nicolosi of Italy and Michelle O’Neill from the Republic of Ireland, the 35-year-old took the occasion in her stride.

Klopp’s side needed penalties to see off Chelsea, but the Reds’ boss was impressed with the performance of the officials.

“I told the ref team after the game that if we would have played like they whistled, we would have won 6-0 – that was my absolute opinion,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website.

“They played a brilliant game. I told her as well that I am not happy with the penalty decision because I’m still not sure that it was a penalty, but it’s not important anymore. They were really good.

“Whatever you could have thought before the game, there was pressure on them like hell with an historic moment.

“Staying by yourself, staying calm and do what you have to do, decide very important things in a very difficult and intense game, I couldn’t have more respect, to be honest. It was really a brilliant performance.”

Frappart was appointed to take charge of the game after rising through the ranks in French football. She initially officiated in the lower leagues, before being promoted to the top flight back in April when she refereed a goalless draw between Amiens and Strasbourg.

She took charge of the recent Women’s World Cup Final between United States and Netherlands, but her Super Cup appointment was seen as a landmark moment for female officials.

Frappart handled the game confidently, dishing out just three yellow cards and refusing to be intimated when any of the players questioned her decisions.

The 35-year-old made a big call early on, denying Liverpool a penalty when Sadio Mane’s shot hit Andreas Christensen’s arm. However, the video-assistant referee (VAR) system didn’t review Frappart’s call.

The biggest moment of controversy came during extra-time, as Frappart awarded Chelsea a penalty when Liverpool goalie Adrian brought down Tammy Abraham.

VAR looked at the decision and decided there was no clear and obvious error, giving Jorginho the opportunity to make it 2-2.

Frappart had said before the game that she wasn’t afraid to take charge of big games and her performance in Turkey highlighted her undoubted ability.

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