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Trio says “oui” to World Cup

New Zealand referee Anna-Marie Keighley will lead an OFC trio at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in France. Credit: FIFA via Getty Images

New Zealand referee Anna-Marie Keighley has made the first step towards the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 by earning an appointment to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France 2018 alongside 14 elite female referees from across the globe.

Making up Keighley’s trio are assistant referees Lata Kaumatule of Tonga and Samoa’s Maria Salamasina.

The selection criteria for the match officials from 21 different countries was based on their experience in their respective association and confederation competitions, as well as their levels of fitness and ability to read the game.

Those selected for the tournament in Brittany this summer will also be candidates to officiate at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™.

Oceania Referee Development Officer Kevin Stoltenkamp said the appointments for all three Oceania match officials is recognition of the hard work they have put in and they should be congratulated for their achievement.

“What is particularly pleasing from a development perspective is we have three women from three different countries representing Oceania. This is good for the promotion of our female match officials and especially for Lata and Maria who have had to overcome difficult situations to get where they are.”

Stoltenkamp said for Keighley it is further recognition of just how far she has come on a global level.

“Anna-Marie is ranked in the top five-10 referees in the world which is just incredible,” he said.

“These appointments really highlight that women, and women from this region, can get to the top.

“And what we are seeing is that other women are starting to believe by seeing this. The impact on the ones coming through the Member Associations is evident, previously the priority was getting to OFC events but now they are realising that it’s not impossible to get to a FIFA event too.

“As much as we encourage them, at the end of the day it comes down to the individual and their sacrifices, and I think our match officials in Oceania are beginning to understand that.”

The four official host cities for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup France are located across Brittany: Concarneau (Stade Guy Piriou), Dinan/Léhon (Stade du Clos Gastel in Léhon), Saint-Malo (Stade Marville) and Vannes (Stade de la Rabine). Vannes will host the opening match of the competition on 5 August as well as the final on 24 August.

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