It's rare for a referee to become an internet sensation for anything other than a game-changing gaffe or amusingly falling over, but that can't be said of Fernanda Colombo Uliana. The 25-year-old assistant referee has been officiating high level football in Brazil for some time but turned heads while making a step up to the Copa do Brasil as Sao Paulo beat CRB 3-0. And this Sunday she'll be on the line for her first match in the Brazilian top-flight when Atletico Mineiro take on Cruzeiro. 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.
While supporting the progression of women into top refereeing roles, Brazil football hasn't exactly covered itself in anti-sexism glory of late. Lower league side Juventus de Santa Catarina's coach Celso Teixeira got in strife recently for calling assistant referee Maira Americano Labes ‘gostoso’ - which means 'tasty' in Portugese - after being sent off during a Catarinense championship game. Labes said she took no offence as she was concentrating on the game. Teixeira says the comment was made by someone from the crowd. On Instagram, Labes said: "Beauty should pass unnoticed. I’d like for the day to come for women to be recognized for their work just like men".
Italian official and part-time model Elena Tambini, also 25, is also on the rise in her home nation with Serie B, Serie A and international football predicted in her future.
Source: Daily Mail