Assistant ref makes her debut in the Champions League

Guadalupe Porras has become the first woman from Spain to officiate in the men's European football tournament

MARÍA FERNÁNDEZ MALAGA.

Guadalupe Porras made history on Wednesday night as she became the first female official on duty at a Champions League match.

The Spaniard was one of the assistant referees led by Carlos del Cerro Grande during one of the biggest games of the opening week of the European football competition, as Napoli and Liverpool duked it out at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

She was assigned to help officiate the group stage game by Uefa, the governing body for European football.

It might seem like an anecdotal achievement, but it means that Porras has started to pave the way for more female referees in what has always been a man's game, especially in Spain.

The Spaniard has reached an extraordinary milestone in her career after years of receiving constant backlash, insults, disgusted looks and being underappreciated by fans who take to the stands on a weekly basis to lash out at the first opportunity.

"Another historic debut! Guadalupe Porras Ayuso, the first female Spanish referee to participate in the Champions League," said the Spanish Football Federation on its website.

A long road

At the age of 32, Porras was also the first woman to be an assistant referee in the Spanish first division, as she was part of the officiating team for Mallorca-Eibar in August 2019.

"When girls see women referees in the First Division they'll be able to look through that window and they will want to keep fighting to make it," she said on that occasion. "I'm very happy, I'm on cloud nine. We all dream of being in the First Division and after a lot of hard work I've achieved it. I still can't believe it."

Porras also became the first woman assistant referee in the Copa del Rey, as she was one of the officials overseeing the 2020 final between Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao. After that particular feat, she said she hoped that "the day will come when it's not newsworthy that a woman is doing her job and there is no gender distinction".

Alongside fellow Spaniard Marta Huerta, Porras comes off the back of officiating matches in both the 2022 Women's European Championship and the Women's U20s World Cup.