Female refs eye France 2025 as Women's Euros draw announced
French referee Luce Peyre is hoping the historic European Women's World Cup qualifying tournament will also a stepping stone for more female match officials to be appointed at France 2025.
Details of the fixtures for the inaugural Women's World Cup qualifying competition were announced to coincide with International Women's Day on March 8, with the eight European nations to play off for places in France from September.
The top two teams in each group of four nations will progress to a straight shoot out finals series, but more significantly they will join England and France as automatic qualifiers to complete Europe’s six World Cup berths.
Peyre and Irish referee Fiona McConn are looking to be involved in the World Cup qualifying fixtures, and both hold ambitions to bolster the ranks of female match officials at France 2025.
Kasey Badger became the first woman to control a men's international when she took charge of the Tonga-Wales World Cup clash and fellow Australian official Belinda Sharp later refereed England-Greece in Sheffield.
Kasey Badger made history at the World Cup (Getty Images)
However, there were only three women in the match officials squad for the World Cup, with New Zealand's Rochelle Tamarua being the other after England's Tara Jones opted to play for her nation rather than referee.
Peyre and McConn hope the number of female match officials at France 2025 will increase, along with the growth in women's teams
“Last year I should have come to referee a women’s Euro B game but my university commitments prevented me,” Peyre said.
“I would like to do a women’s game for the 2025 RLWC because for France it’s a big opportunity.
"It’s very important to see the women’s game growing in Europe at all levels. I didn’t referee at school but both my brothers are involved in the sport and they supported me. I would encourage any woman to have a go.”
Ireland's Fiona McConn refereed at last year's European Championships
McConn took charge of Wales and Italy in women’s Euro B last year.
“The game at Crosskeys was my first international appointment,” she said. “It was a great experience, both in terms of refereeing a game at that level and together with match officials from different nations.
"It is so important to continue developing the domestic game, both in Ireland and across European countries. Taking up refereeing rugby league was one of the best decisions I have made.
"There is a clear pathway for progression if that is something you are interested in but what I enjoy is the match official family that I'm now a part of.”
The scheduled dates are as follows:
30th September 2023 – Wales v Netherlands
28th October 2023 – Greece v Wales
4th November 2023 – Greece v Turkey
11th May 2024 – Netherlands v Greece, Turkey v Wales
18th May 2024 – Turkey v Netherlands
2nd September 2023 – Italy v Malta
28th October 2023 – Serbia v Ireland
11th May 2024 – Malta v Serbia, Ireland v Italy
18th May 2024 – Malta v Ireland
25th May 2024 – Italy v Serbia
A further announcement confirming the exact date, kick off time and venue for each match will follow in due course. Fans should not book travel until that information has been advised.