Published: 16:30, May 25, 2024
Copa America to feature its first female referees
By Reuters
Botafogo's Rafael is shown a red card by referee Edina Alves Batista during Brasileiro Championship in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on April 30, 2023. (PHOTO / REUTERS)

Next month's Copa America will be the first edition of the continental men's football tournament to have female referees, South America's soccer governing body (CONMEBOL) said on Friday.

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Copa America, which runs from June 20 to July 14 hosted by the United States, will have a total of 101 match officials, including eight women.

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Edina Alves of Brazil and Maria Victoria Penso of the United States will be referees in the tournament. They will be supported by Tatiana Guzman of Nicaragua, a VAR official.

Inter Miami's Argentine forward #10 Lionel Messi and his Spanish midfielder #05 Sergio Busquets speak with Brazilian match referee Edina Alves Batista during the friendly exhibition match between Saudi Arabia's al-Hilal SFC and the US Inter Miami CF at the Kingdom Arena Stadium in Riyadh on Jan 29, 2024. (PHOTO / AFP)

Brazilian Neuza Back, Mary Blanco of Colombia, Migdalia Rodriguez of Venezuela, and Americans Brooke Mayo and Kathryn Nesbitt will join as assistants.

"This is a significant commitment undertaken by CONMEBOL since 2016," CONMEBOL said in a statement.

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"Aiming at the development and professionalisation of more women on and off the field, promoting gender equality in various tournaments."

In 2021, Alves became the first woman to referee a senior men's FIFA tournament at the Club World Cup. Back and Nesbitt officiated matches in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Penso, Mayo, and Nesbitt have also been selected as match officials at the 2024 Olympic football tournament in France.