Anoud Al-Asmari, first Saudi woman referee to get FIFA badge

Anoud Al-Asmari is one of eight Saudis the list of Saudi international referees 2023.

Riyadh: Anoud Al-Asmari on Thursday became the first Saudi female referee to receive the international badge from the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA), according to the list announced by the local association of the game.

This comes in less than a year after the conservative kingdom’s national women’s team played their first match.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) published on Thursday, through its official account on Twitter, the list of Saudi international referees 2023, which witnessed the presence of eight arena referees, nine assistant referees, and six video referees, with a futsal referee.

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The list saw the presence of a single woman Anoud Al-Asmari.

“I am happy to be the first Saudi female referee to receive the international badge in the history of Saudi sports,” Asmari told AFP.

According to the Saudi Gazette, 34-year-old Al-Asmari began her career as a referee in 2018, when she refereed a series of matches for the Saudi women’s national team.

Since Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman assumed the position of Crown Prince in 2017.

Saudi women continue their steps towards empowerment and obtaining more rights and freedoms that they were denied during the past decades, but they have become a reality in light of the changes announced at an accelerating pace in recent years.

In November 2021, Saudi Arabia launched the domestic women’s league with the participation of 16 teams, just a few years after the ban on women playing the game was lifted.

Saudi women’s national team, coached by German veteran Monica Stapp, played its first official match in February 2022 when it beat Seychelles 2-0.

Saudi Arabia submitted a request to host the 2026 Asian Women’s Cup, and is currently the only candidate to host the Men’s Asian Cup in 2027.

Saudi Arabia also plans to aspire to host the 2030 World Cup, in a joint bid with Egypt and Greece.

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