Maria Sole Ferrieri Caputi will make history in Serie A this weekend when she becomes the first female referee to take charge of a match in Italy’s highest tier of football.

She will officiate the match between Sassuolo and Salernitana on Sunday, the Italian Referees’ Association (AIA) has announced.

“It’s not an ordinary day and I’m also moved by it,” said Alfredo Trentalange, president of the referees’ governing body in Italy. “Maria Sole will debut in Serie A on merit, without any shortcuts, for her ability and skills.

“We’re about to experience a historic moment after more than 110 years. We thank those who believed in her. … We’re not granting any privileges, Maria Sole earned this step.”

Before becoming the first female referee in Serie A, the 31-year-old also became the first woman to officiate a top-level Italian match last year when Cagliari played Cittadella in the Coppa Italia.

She was promoted to the Italian league’s refereeing pool for this season in July after having started officiating Serie D matches in 2015.

In 2019 she oversaw two Women’s European Championship qualifying games and, the following year began refereeing Serie C matches. She also refereed a Serie B clash between Cittadella and SPAL becoming the second female to officiate a second-division match in Italy after Maria Marotta.

This year’s FIFA world cup will also feature female referees for the first time, a sign that football is finally breaking the stigma which has surrounded the game for a long time.

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