Football Australia is pleased to announce that four (4) Australian match officials have been selected as candidates from over 750 FIFA referees and assistant referees worldwide for the ‘Road to AUS/NZL’ project.
Leading Australian female referees Kate Jacewicz (VIC) and Casey Reibelt (QLD) and assistant referees Joanna Charaktis (VIC) and Sarah Ho (NSW) are among only 156 referees and assistant referees globally to have been selected as part of the candidate process to officiate at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia/New Zealand 2023™.
Over the next three years, the quartet will be required to fulfil a range of criteria in order to remain in contention to be selected on FIFA’s final panel of match officials for the tournament to be held in mid-2023.
In June last year, Australia and New Zealand were awarded the right to co-host the first-ever 32-nation FIFA Women’s World Cup™, with the announcement from FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich being met with mass excitement and media coverage globally.
Football Australia Chief Executive Officer James Johnson said it is fantastic that the four match officials will have the opportunity to press their claims to Australia in their profession on home soil, just like the Westfield Matildas.
“We are thrilled to learn of the selections of Kate, Casey, Joanna, and Sarah as part of FIFA’s ‘Road to AUS/NZL’ project,” Johnson said.
“The FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia/New Zealand 2023™ will be a tournament of firsts, and while numerous match officials have represented Australia at FIFA Women’s World Cups in the past, Kate, Casey, Joanna, and Sarah have the opportunity to be the first to do so on home soil and in doing so lift the profile of Australian referees and match officials.
“Australians from many of areas of the game will be central to the delivery of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in 2023, and just like the Westfield Matildas, we are committed to doing everything we can to support our match officials on their paths to 2023.
“In the XI Principles for the future of Australian football we highlight our commitment to anchoring the growth of Australian football in women’s football. We are particularly focused on development pathways for our referees and match officials, and encouraging women and girls to take up opportunities to become referees and match officials. The involvement of Kate, Casey, Joanna, and Sarah in FIFA’s ‘Road to AUS/NZL’ project will provide the next generation of young match officials with champions to look up to.”
Last season, Jacewicz became the first woman to referee in the A-League when she took charge of the round 15 fixture between Melbourne City FC and Newcastle Jets FC.
Jacewicz and Reibelt both refereed at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™, while Ho has officiated at three FIFA Women’s World Cups™ in the past (2007, 2011, and 2015). For Charaktis, 2023 could mark her first appearance at a FIFA Women’s World Cup™.