Spain won the inaugural UEFA Women’s Futsal Championship, beating the hosts Portugal on Sunday, February 17.

But it was also a first for Iranians: Two female Iranian referees officiated at the games. 

Davoud Rafati, the head of Iranian Football Federation’s Refereeship Department, had reported earlier that UEFA — the  Union of European Football Associations — had invited Gelareh Nazemi and Zari Fathi to referee the tournament, which made its debut in Portugal from February 15 to 17.

Gelareh Nazemi, who began her career as a referee in 2001, has twice been selected as Iran’s best referee for women's futsal. Nazemi refereed the final of the 2018 Women’s Youth Olympic Futsal Tournament in Buenos Aires, where Portugal faced Japan. Her performance at that tournament was widely praised.

In the recent competition, Gelareh Nazemi officiated the semi-final match between Spain and Russia, which took place in Gondomar, Portugal on Friday, February 15. Zari Fathi was the match’s second referee.

Spain advanced to the final after defeating Russia 5-0.

“Since I was entered on the list of international referees, I have officiated at the Asian Women's Futsal Championship and the World’s Students Futsal Games,” said Zari Fathi. “Each one had its own charm,” she said, while acknowledging that being invited to the European Futsal Championship was another matter altogether. “I am very happy that a new event has happened for Iran’s women’s futsal refereeing.”



Related Coverage:

Mahsa Ghorbani, Iran’s Female International Football Referee, March 17, 2018

Iran's Lady of the Ice, September 27, 2016

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