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Kuala Lumpur: DPR Korea referee Ri Hyang-ok has been appointed as a support referee for the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.

Along with several referees from other Confederations, this is the first time female referees have been selected for a FIFA men’s tournament.

Ri has had an exceptional refereeing career, tracking as far back as her first international appearance in 2007.

As her most recent achievements, she officiated at the semi-final stage of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in 2016, as well as at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 third place match.

After the completion of the FIFA U-17 group stages, Ri will be joining the 2017 AFC U-19 Women’s Championship in China which commences on October 15.

FIFA Head of Refereeing Massimo Busacca said: “We think it’s time for elite female referees to be involved in a FIFA men’s competition.

“They worked alongside male match officials last year and now we want to see them working together in a competition.”

Busacca referred to the step further that FIFA took in 2015 when it gathered the candidates for the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 under a single project. Men and women referees have participated in several joint activities as part of this preparation.

In line with the global goal of reaching consistency and uniformity among the match officials regardless of their gender, AFC launched its first-ever combined men and women Elite Referees and Assistant Referees seminar in November last year.

The FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 will take place in Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Navi, Mumbai and New Delhi between October 6 and 28.


Photo: FIFA/Getty Images