Cheryl Foster
Cheryl Foster officiated this year’s Women’s Champions League Final between Barcelona and Wolfsburg

Cheryl Foster will become Wales’ first World Cup referee in 45 years when she takes charge of Brazil’s meeting with Panama in Adelaide on Monday.

Foster, 42, has been selected to referee at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

It will cap a remarkable rise for the former Liverpool striker from Bangor.

She became the first Welshwoman to officiate at a major tournament at Euro 2022 before refereeing this year’s Champions League final.

As a player she won three league titles with the Reds as well as 63 Wales caps, between 1997 and 2011, a record at the time.

She began refereeing in 2013 and was promoted to Uefa’s elite list in 2020.

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Foster had been added to Fifa’s international list of referees in 2015 and became the first woman to referee a game in the Cymru Premier – Wales’ top men’s division – in 2018.

When she officiated at the European Championship, Foster became the first Welsh referee at a major tournament since Clive Thomas at the men’s 1978 World Cup.

She has been described as the ‘poster girl’ of Welsh refereeing having taken charge of the Women’s Champions League final between Barcelona and Wolfsburg in Eindhoven last month.

‘A fabulous experience I’ll never forget’

Now she is among 33 referees – plus 55 assistant referees and 19 video match officials – at the World Cup.

Deputy chair of Uefa’s women’s football committee and fellow ex-Wales player Laura McAllister said: “Cheryl is making us very proud and it’s a way of selling Wales to the world.

“She knows the game inside out, she’s an exemplar of what it takes to be a top referee.”

Wales missed out on qualifying for the World Cup when they lost their play-off final to Switzerland in October 2022.

“As always, the criteria we have used is ‘quality first’ and the selected on-field match officials represent the highest level of refereeing worldwide,” said Fifa referees committee chairman Pierluigi Collina.

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