Women Referees to Officiate at Men's Asian Cup
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has made a historic announcement, revealing that five women officials, including Japan's Yoshimi Yamashita, will serve as referees at the upcoming men's Asian Cup next year. This development marks a significant step forward in gender inclusion in football officiating.
Yoshimi Yamashita has previously officiated at the men's World Cup in Qatar last year, showcasing her expertise and competence on the international stage. Joining her in this groundbreaking endeavor is Australian referee Katherine Jacewicz, who will also play a crucial role in the tournament. Assisting them will be a team of skilled officials, including the Japanese duo of Makoto Bozono and Naomi Teshirogi, as well as Kim Kyoung-min from South Korea.
In an official statement, the AFC expressed the historic nature of this milestone, stating, "For the first time ever, women match officials are poised to make their debut at Asia's most prestigious men's national team competition..." This decision represents a significant stride towards promoting gender diversity and inclusivity in football at the highest level.
The tournament was initially scheduled for June and July of the current year but has been rescheduled to run from January 12 to February 10, 2024. It will take place in Qatar after China, the original hosts, stepped down due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in their country.