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Shona Shukrula Poised to Become the First Woman to Officiate Men’s Professional Matches

Shona Shukrula Makes History as First Woman Licensed to Officiate Men’s Professional Football Matches in the Netherlands

In a groundbreaking achievement, 32-year-old Shona Shukrula from Alkmaar has earned the distinction of becoming the first woman licensed to referee men’s professional football matches in the Netherlands. The Dutch football association KNVB announced this milestone on Wednesday, revealing Shukrula’s upcoming endeavors for the season, including officiating her inaugural Keuken Kampioen division match, the second tier of Dutch professional competition.

Having officiated official amateur KNVB games since the 2009/2010 season and served as a fourth official in the first division since 2020, Shukrula brings a wealth of experience to her new role. Notably, she has also presided over top-level women’s games, including fixtures in the prestigious Champions League.

Expressing her immense pride in this achievement, Shukrula emphasized the years of dedication and hard work that have led to this moment. “I’ve worked very hard for 15 years to get here,” she remarked in a statement on the KNVB website.

Addressing any potential concerns or doubts regarding her transition to officiating men’s games, Shukrula remained resolute. “I want to be judged properly, for my skills,” she affirmed. “Criticism and feedback are part of this. They are inherent in top-level sport.”

Shukrula’s historic milestone marks a significant step forward for gender inclusion in football officiating, setting a positive example for aspiring referees around the world.

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