Sonia Denoncourt of Canada will become the first woman ever to referee an Olympic football match when she takes charge of the Germany-Japan women's match in Birmingham, Alabama, which kicks off on Sunday July 21 slightly ahead of the other women's matches in Miami, Orlando and Washington DC.
The day before, Lucian Bouchardeau of Niger will referee the sell-out first match of the Olympic Football Tournament between the men's teams of the United States and Argentina, also in Birmingham.
These and other appointments for the first four days of matches were confirmed at a meeting of the FIFA Referees Committee in Miami.
The referees and their assistants (formerly known as linesmen or lineswomen) travelled to their respective venues also on Wednesday. Appointments for the remaining first-round matches will be made on Monday July 22 or Tuesday July 23, 1996.
The Committee expressed its full satisfaction with the fitness of the 32 referees and assistants, who had completed a series of tests in Miami. It also gave final approval to the experimental use during the Olympic Football Tournaments of a new system by which referees assistants can alert the referee to incidents during the game by means of an electronic impulse transmitted from a button on the flag to a device on the referee's arm.