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Male Referees Needed In Women’s World Cup, Says Ex-striker

Sue Smith, a former England striker, has urged the world football governing body, FIFA, to bring in experienced male officials to help female referees adjust to the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system.

Smith said on Thursday that the request became necessary following a number of incidents at the women’s World Cup.

With VAR being used for the first time in women’s football at the 24-team tournament in France, many games have had more than 10 minutes of stoppage time.

The long stoppage time being as a result of the delay over checks made by officials who are not familiar with the system.

Referees in the men’s game were able to get to grips with VAR at the 2017 Confederations Cup before last year’s World Cup in Russia and as well from some domestic leagues across Europe.

FIFA has had a female only rule for referees in the women’s game since 1995.

However, Smith said that rule should change to aid the rapid development of officiating.

“I’m all for mixing male officials with female officials,” Smith, a commentator for the BBC at the World Cup, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“In my opinion it should have been done for this tournament, just to help out. As the footballs getting better and developing I also think that needs to develop.

“They need help, they need training, and while they’re getting that, bring in whoever is best for the job whether it’s male or female.”

FIFA said there were no immediate plans to change their rule.

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