Women's first in Maltese football refereeing

Refereeing in Malta reached an important milestone on Sunday 25th November as for the first time ever in Maltese football, three female referees officiated together a competitive match at St Patrick Ground.

The Under 17 Section A match between St. Patrick and Paola Hibernians was controlled by FIFA Referee Esther Azzopardi, assisted by Category 4 match officials Nadia Polidano and Chantel Spiteri. Chantel Spiteri is one of the new graduates from the Malta FA Referees Academy founded last season.

In a statement to the Press, Director of Refereeing Adrian D. Casha expressed his satisfaction and remarked that “Today is a historical day for refereeing in Malta which confirms the Malta FA’s commitment to provide equal opportunities for men and women. Over the years Esther Azzopardi has already confirmed that gender is no barrier and apart from making it to UEFA’s Elite Development Category, she has established herself as one of the leading referees in the Men’s Top Division here in Malta. I have no doubt that both Nadia Polidano and Chantel Spiteri possess the potential to follow her footsteps.”

Apart from competitive matches on a domestic level, the first three female match officials for a football match in Malta were referee Esther Azzopardi and assistant referees Sadia Mizzi and Ivana Salerno in a friendly match between the Malta women’s national team and the Italy women’s Under-19 team played at the MFA Training Grounds, Ta’ Qali on February 22, 2006.

Photos: Copyright © domenic aquilina / MFA