Albanian Female Referees Make History in European Football

Breaking Barriers and Inspiring Future Generations

In an unprecedented milestone for Albanian sports, four remarkable female referees have made history by officiating matches in the EURO 2025 qualifiers. This landmark event is a testament to their exceptional skills, dedication, and the growing recognition of Albanian referees on the international stage.

Emanuela Rusta: Breaking Barriers

Emanuela Rusta, the main referee for the Switzerland-Hungary match, is no stranger to making history. Hailing from Lezhë, Albania, Emanuela became the first female referee from her country to be promoted by the UEFA Referees Committee to the first category in June 2023. Her journey to this prestigious position has been marked by her unwavering commitment to excellence and her ability to handle high-pressure situations with grace and precision. 

Mirela Çemeri: A shining star in Albanian Football Officiating 

Born on October 7, 1992, in Durrës, Albania, Mirela Çemeri has emerged as a prominent football referee in Albania. Her early passion for sports set the foundation for her career in football officiating. Mirela has made significant strides in her career, frequently serving as the fourth official in domestic leagues and cups, including the Kategoria Superiore U21 and Kupa e Shqipërisë. Her professionalism and precise judgment have earned her respect and recognition within the Albanian football community. Her consistent performance and dedication have led to a steady rise in her officiating roles, marking her as a reliable figure in the sport. She is known for her calm demeanor and ability to manage high-pressure situations effectively. Looking ahead, Mirela aims to officiate in more international fixtures, showcasing her skills on a broader stage. Her journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring referees, highlighting the importance of dedication and passion in achieving success in sports officiating.

Rita Vehapi: Pioneering Female Referee in Kosovo

Rita Vehapi has emerged as a key figure in football officiating in Kosovo. Born in Kosovo, she has recently earned the prestigious FIFA badge, allowing her to officiate international matches. Despite the challenges and limited opportunities for female referees in Kosovo, Rita has made significant strides in her career. She is known for her dedication and perseverance, and she hopes to inspire more women to pursue careers in football refereeing. Rita’s journey exemplifies her commitment to excellence and her passion for the sport. 

 Edjena Kapxhiu: A Rising Star

Edjena Kapxhiu, an assistant referee from Gjirokastër, has also been a trailblazer in her field. Alongside Emanuela, she has officiated significant matches, including the UEFA Women’s Champions League game between SL Benfica W and Barcelona W. 

Her keen eye for detail and steadfast decision-making have earned her the FIFA badge, highlighting her as one of the elite referees in the world of football.

Mirjeta Salla: Consistency and Excellence

Mirjeta Salla, another assistant referee, has consistently demonstrated her prowess on the field. Known for her calm demeanor and precise judgments, Mirjeta has quickly risen through the ranks. She holds the FIFA badge, underscoring her status as one of the top referees in international football. 

Her contributions have been vital in elevating the standards of Albanian refereeing.

Kejsi Tafili: The  New Generation 

Kejsi Tafili, serving as the fourth official, represents the new generation of Albanian referees making their mark on the international scene. Though newer to the international arena, Kejsi has already shown immense potential and skill, earning her place in this historic match. Her involvement in this high-profile game is a significant step forward in her budding career 

 A Proud Moment for Albania

The selection of these referees for the EURO 2025 qualifiers is a proud moment for Albania. It highlights the country’s growing influence in the world of sports and serves as an inspiration for young girls aspiring to careers in sports officiating. The recognition from UEFA and the FIFA badges these referees hold are a testament to their hard work and the support from the Albanian Football Federation, which has been instrumental in nurturing their talents. 

Emanuela Rusta, Edjena Kapxhiu, Mirjeta Salla, and Kejsi Tafili carry the pride and hopes of a nation. Their journey is a beacon of progress for Albanian women, demonstrating that with determination and support, barriers can be broken, and history can be made. 

This event is not just a personal achievement for these referees but a significant step forward for gender equality in sports.

Votra Magazine celebrates their success and looks forward to seeing more Albanian referees shine on the international stage, further solidifying Albania’s place in the world of sports. At Votra Magazine, we believe their story will inspire many more to follow in their footsteps, marking a new era for women in sports officiating..

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