Somali woman becomes the first female Muslim referee in UK

Who said you could not be a woman, a Muslim and a football referee?

Her passion for the football, born very early, led Jawarih Roble, a young British of Somali origin, to become familiar with her golden rules, to endorse the amateur referee jersey by breaking the stereotypes to every one of her whistles.

At 24 years old, the player whom the nickname JJ has not only managed to impose her authority on the green lawns, in a discipline dominated by the male, but also entered the history of English football as the first Muslim woman, moreover, veiled, to be allowed to referee matches.

Coming from a Somali family of nine children, the young woman suffered the horrors of war, when she was still a teenager, and was forced to flee her homeland with her family to escape.

“In Somalia, there were attacks every day. I remember going to school and once back home, playing football in the street with my brothers and sisters to relax,” she said with emotion.

Upon arriving in Britain, where hope for a brighter future was on the horizon, Jawarih Roble began studying computer science at the university. Far from being dulled, her passion for football has even strengthened, following a successful experience in refereeing at a local girls’ league in northwestern London. Her choice was made: she would be an umpire against all odds, ready to make the wicked or sceptical minds lie and gain the respect of the male players.

After successfully completing all the steps to officiate as an amateur referee licensed by the UK Football Association who, noticeably, did not force her to reveal herself, Jawarih Roble was able to prove herself by staying true to her values. All dressed in black as most of her colleagues are, she stands out, however, by her Islamic scarf, her long-sleeved shirt and leggings protruding from her shorts.

“When I arrive on a field, I often hear: is she the referee? No!” She said with a hint of humour, her best weapon to ignore the teasing, the laughter or disparaging remarks which it is subject. Nothing and no one can take away her deep joy in fulfilling his mission, which he carries out with ethics and rigor.

More fortunate than ever, Jawarih Roble now dreams of investing in the Premier League matches and, within ten years, exploring the football fields as a professional referee.

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