Chesterfield lineswoman referees in front of record-breaking crowd at this year's Women's FA cup final at Wembley

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A Chesterfield woman was a part of a historical event in women’s football as a match official at this year’s, record-breaking Women’s FA Cup final.

Georgia Ball was selected to help officiate the final on Sunday, May 14, played between Chelsea and Manchester United, in front of the largest crowd seen so far for a domestic women’s club fixture. 77,390 fans sat, cheering beneath the Wembley arch, smashing the previous record of 60,739.

Georgia first got into officiating football after a refereeing course at school when she was 14.

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Over the past 12 years, Georgia has gone from officiating Sunday league football matches to becoming an assistant referee for the Women’s super league, frequently “running the lines” at stadiums like the Etihad and Emirates in front of ever-growing crowds.

Georgia with the Women's FA cup trophyGeorgia with the Women's FA cup trophy
Georgia with the Women's FA cup trophy

Two weeks before the game kicked off, Georgia was told she had been selected as one of the assistant referees for this year’s final, after being selected as part of the reserve team last year.

Before the game, Georgia and the other officials knew they would be doing their job in front of a large crowd at Wembley, but they had no idea just how huge the amount of people in attendance would be.

Georgia said: “I think we were all almost in denial. We got to London the night before and everyone was quite calm. In the morning I went for a walk around the hotel gardens to get some time by myself.”

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She added: “It was almost a false sense of security as during our warm-up there wasn’t that many people there. It wasn’t until we walked out for kick-off and we couldn’t even hear each other on comms when we said ‘this is crazy’. When I ran over to check the net and I looked around I could just see this wall of people and noise.”

Georgia (Right) and the other matchday officialsGeorgia (Right) and the other matchday officials
Georgia (Right) and the other matchday officials

After just thirty seconds, Georgia was called into action, correctly flagging an offside that cancelled out a potential opening goal for Manchester United’s Leah Galton. The decision was confirmed by VAR which was used for the first time during a domestic women’s game. The Chesterfield referee describes getting an offside call like that correct as the “refereeing equivalent to scoring a goal”.