The AFC Champions League, which is taking place in Qatar this year, will see it’s first female medical officers responsible for ensuring the safety of players and officials.
Dr. Zohreh Haratian and Dr. Bahar Hassanmiraei from the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Janis Ann Figueroa Espino-De Vera from the Philippines and Dr. Liesel Geertsema from New Zealand made history by being the first female medical officers.
De. Zohreh, has been at the forefront of battling the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran. A former futsal players herself, she says that it has been one of her dreams to participate in a men’s tournament.
For Dr. Bahar and Dr. Espino-De Vera, their appointment is an opportunity to inspire women and set an example for women working in sports medicine.
“This is a chance for women to show that we are capable in the field of Football Medicine. This paves the way for other women not just in Football Medicine, but in other fields as well. The AFC has shown that they recognise and appoint people based on merit,” said Dr. Espino-De Vera.
Last year, Japanese referee Yoshimi Yamashita alongside assistant referees Makoto Bozono and Naomi Teshirogi officiated in an AFC Cup match for the first time while Kim Se-in from Korea Republic, Nguyen Thanh Ha of Vietnam, Lau Cheuk Chi of Hong Kong and Kanya Keomany of Laos were selected as the first women match commissioners in the joint Asian Qualifiers.
Keomany was also appointed as the match commissioner in the 2019 AFC Cup Final, the first time a female was selected to take charge in a men’s Final.