By Yoon Sojung
A record number of Korean referees will work at this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer finals slated for July in Australia and New Zealand.
Soccer’s world governing body FIFA on Jan. 9 announced its referee lineup for the upcoming tournament that included five from Korea.
Oh Hyeonjeong and Kim Yujeong will serve as head referees and Kim Kyoung Min, Lee Seul Gi and Park Misuk as assistant referees.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) said this is the first time for five Korean referees to work at the same Women’s World Cup, with the previous record being two. At the 2003 tournament in the U.S., Im Eun-ju was a head referee and Choi Soo-jin an assistant referee and in 2011 in Germany, Cha Seong-mi served as a head referee and Kim Kyoung Min as an assistant referee; the latter was also a head referee with Lee as an assistant referee in the 2019 competition in France.
For Oh, this is her first FIFA tournament since officiating at the 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup. Receiving the KFA award for Female Referee of the Year in 2017, she has earned the honor of “special female referee” for four straight years since 2019 and has appeared as a referee in the soccer-themed SBS TV show “Kick a Goal.”
Working at last year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, Kim Yujeong will officiate at her first Women’s World Cup this year. She was named the KFA’s Female Referee of the Year in 2019.
Kim Kyoung Min will participate in her fifth straight Women’s World Cup since the 2007 edition in China. She is the first Korean to appear in five World Cups among players, coaches or referees of either gender.
Lee will work her second straight Women’s World Cup after serving as an assistant referee in the 2019 tournament in France. She has officiated seven FIFA tournaments including the U-20 and U-17 editions.
Assistant referee Park, who now officiates games in Australia’s A-league for men, will work at her first Women’s World Cup. She took part in last year’s U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.
A combined 107 referees will work at this year’s tournament with 33 head and 56 assistant referees and 18 video match officials to handle video assistant referee. By nationality, the U.S. has the most with six, followed by Korea and Canada with five each. The U.S. has five field officials comprising chief and assistant referees but also one digital match official.
Three of Canada’s five officiating members are field referees. Host country Australia has four and Japan three.
The Korean national team is led by head coach Colin Bell and will compete in Group H with Colombia, Morocco and Germany.