At Frontline:Spain’s female football referees are fighting Coronavirus like ‘Superwomen’

KSW Desk/AFP

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Nurse and semi-professional football referee Iragartze Fernandez officiating a match (L), at a hospital desk (C) and at a hospital in Bilbao during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Pic Courtesy AFP/Family

They could have stayed home but they chose to be at frontline of a war against Coronavirus Pandemic in Spain.

The Spain’s female football referees are fighting Coronavirus like Superwomens and have turned full time health workers in this hour of need. They are setting the example and once again are sending message that humanity is still alive.

The 26-year-old, Iragartze Fernandez, the part-time referee turned full-time nurse who officiates matches in La Liga Iberdrola, the top tier of the women’s game, and Segunda B, the third tier of the men’s, has been practising as a nurse for five years at the Rekalde Health Centre in Bilbao.

But as the relentless spread of the virus has stretched Spain’s hospitals to breaking point, Iragartze Fernandez has made her medical role full-time to help manage the rush of patients.

“When someone arrives with a cough and a fever, my job is to analyse their symptoms, while wearing full protective equipment,” she told International News Agency AFP.

She said that she is not superwomen and is doing what is need of the hour amid global pandemic.

Yet Iragartze Fernandez is among the few from the sport to take her place on the fight’s frontline.

“I’m not Superwoman or anything like that,” Iragartze Fernandez says. “I’m just doing my bit, like everyone else.”

Spain is now 11 days into official lockdown, with another two weeks at least to come, after the state of alarm was extended earlier this week.

Spain has the second most deaths of any country in the world, behind only Italy, with more than 4,000 lives taken by the pandemic, according to the latest figures on Thursday.

Football has stepped forward, as coaches, players and fans have raised millions to boost the effort while clubs have offered up their first-class facilities in a bid to ease the strain.

Iragartze Fernandez is not the only one, with Judit Romano, an assistant referee in Segunda, the second tier of men’s football, now working as an anesthesiologist in the resuscitation department of Oviedo’s Central University Hospital of Asturias.

Elena Pelaez, a referee in La Liga Iberdrola, is working as a midwife at the Rio Carrion Hospital in Palencia.

But despite their strenuous timetables, Iragartze Fernandez said the Spanish Football Federation are keen to ensure they all stay as sharp as possible. (AFP)

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