PARIS, France. — Carol Anne Chenard, one of Canada’s best and most experienced soccer referees has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will miss the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Pierluigi Collina the chairman of the FIFA Referees Committee made the announcement at Referees Media Day here on Tuesday.
“Only some days ago, Carol Anne Chenard, one of our top referees from Canada, she was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Collina said. “It was something that shocked us. We are sharing this because we were asked, particularly by Carol Anne, to say what she is currently suffering.
“Fortunately, the breast cancer was diagnosed quite early, so we are very, very, very confident that she will recover soon and she will be with us in the near future again.”
Chenard is considered among the best female referees in soccer. She was assigned the gold medal game at the 2016 Rio Olympics and would have been a candidate to referee the opening match of the tournament on Friday between the hosts France and Korea Republic.
Chenard, 42, from Summerside, P.E.I., made history in May when she led an all-female crew for the Canadian Premier League match between Forge FC and Cavalry FC at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.
She has refereed at the 2011 and 2015 World Cups and the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
“The news is very recent,” said FIFA Senior Refereeing Manager Kari Seitz. “We just discovered, really, the weekend before we arrived, which would have been last Saturday. She had just learned the day prior.”
Chenard was one of three Canadian referees selected to work at the World Cup. Marie-Soleil Beaudoin, 36, of Halifax and Chantel Boudreau, 30, of Regina are also in France.
The news of Chenard’s diagnoses was felt by all the referees working the tournament.
“For the team, when you are working together for three and a half years, you can imagine, it’s a very close family,” Seitz said. “So what they are really focused on is the performances not only for themselves and their country but also for the referee family too to show the work they’ve done in spirit for the officials who aren’t here.
“Carol Anne is one of our top officials and she will be greatly missed.”
On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest
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