26-year-old Brazilian Fernanda Colombo Uliana is on duty in Russia as a line judge and is incidentally the first woman to do so in a FIFA World Cup.
The hot and sexy female referee is certainly hogging the limelight in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The 2018 Russia World Cup has many firsts to its credit including the introduction of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology as Fernanda also became a part of the history as the first woman line judge to officiate at this level.
It is rare for a referee to become an internet sensation for anything other than a game-changing gaffe or falling over but that can’t be said of Fernanda Colombo Uliana.
The 26-year-old assistant referee has been officiating in Brazil for some time but turned heads while making a step up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Being the first woman on the roster of referees in a mega event like the FIFA World Cup, the pressure is understandably there on Fernanda, but the Latin American is ready for it and relishing the challenge that comes along with the job for sure.
“I had a hard time getting here, I always liked football, I did not play very well and when I was doing a physical education course, I was offered a course in arbitration and I liked it, the road has not been easy,” Fernanda was quoted as saying in a recent interview with Spanish online publication Marca.
Born in Santa Catarina, a state located in southern Brazil, Fernanda has a degree in Physical Education.
She had her initial fame during the Brazil Cup 2014, where she officiated as line judge in the crunch match between Sao Paulo and CRB.
Fernanda started by officiating in Brazil’s C Division before switching gears and moving on to B and A categories.
“If I was not good, I would not be here because we are all professionals,” Fernanda recalled in the Marca interview about her initiation into the game.
And the crowning glory came recently as the game’s global governing body rewarded her effort and performance, by deciding to let her wear the FIFA badge and added her name to the roaster of line judges to officiate in the Russia World Cup.
And as the quadrennial extravaganza unfolded in Moscow last week, Fernanda added a slice of history of her own by breaking into the men’s monopoly.
Fernanda is not the first woman though to be part of a FIFA World Cup officiating panel. That credit goes to Swiss referee Ester Staubli, who had done the honours during the FIFA Under-17 World Cup held in India last year.
Uliana is among a host of women to have have recently made their way into male-dominated areas of football and is putting in the hard yards to be recognised for more than her appearance.
Just this week, Portugese manager Helena Costa became the first female boss of a club in one of Europe’s top two leagues when appointed at the helm of Clermont Foot in France.
Italian official and part-time model Elena Tambini, also 25, is also on the rise in her home nation and she is predicted to officiate in Serie B, Serie A and internationally in the future.
Despite supporting the progression of women into top refereeing roles, Brazilian football hasn’t exactly been a bastion of gender equality of late.