Guadalupe Porras, first Spanish referee to participate in an international men’s competition

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The Extremaduran assistant, the only woman in the First Division, will be this Thursday in the Europa League match between Lask and Ludogorets

“This is a very hard world,” says Guadalupe Porras (Badajoz, 33 years old) to explain her work: a soccer referee. Doubly hard. Added to the harshness of the arbitration are the difficulties to break through the elite of an essentially male universe. Nothing that has scared Guada, who has been breaking down barriers until being designated as the first Spanish woman to be part of a referee team in an international men’s competition, the Europa League. Porras will be this Thursday one of the two assistants of the main referee Xavier Estrada Fernández in the match between Lask and Ludogorets, in Vienna.

The news found Guadalupe Porras this Tuesday in Cardiff, hours before the clash between Wales and Norway qualifying for the Women’s Euro Cup in 2022. The Extremaduran has been an international referee since 2014 and has also been an assistant in the Women’s Champions League. Since last season, she is the only linesman in the men’s Spanish Primera, in Estrada’s team. In Second there are two women assistants, Judit Romano and Eliana Fernández. Marta Huerta de Aza is the main referee in Second B, and since this past summer she has the highest level of UEFA, the so-called UEFA Elite, which allows her to whistle any competition, including European and World Cups. Eight other women are assistants in Second B, and in Third Division there are 10 main colleges who also direct in the First female.

“This is a very important step, one more goal in my career,” says Porras about his upcoming international debut in a men’s match. “All those girls who start out can see that what they set out to do can be achieved in this world, which is a very hard world in which you need a lot of work and sacrifice. I have always been asked for the same brands as my colleagues and that has made me one more, it has cost me the same. And I remember very hard moments, like when I couldn’t get promoted to Second, ”says Guadalupe.

In 2007, Marisa Villa managed to go up to First but did not make her debut because she did not pass the physical tests. Guadalupe Porras overcame the hurdle and has launched Spanish women’s refereeing at levels similar to those of Germany, England and France. Germany’s Bibiana Steinhaus retired last month as chief referee of the Super Cup final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund after leading 23 Bundesliga games (not a red card), as well as participating in three European Cups and three World Cups. female.

The path that Guadalupe Porras and the rest of the referees travel is steep. FIFA divided international referees between men and women (a list that is reviewed every six months) and only now has that distinction between judges removed. In England, the controversy jumped a few days ago when Agüero, of Manchester City, put an arm around the shoulder and neck of assistant Sian Louise Massey-Ellis during a game against Arsenal. The gesture was criticized when understanding that he had not done the same with a man.

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