Rebecca Welch to make history as first EVER woman to referee a Football League match from the start


Rebecca Welch to make history as first EVER woman to referee a Football League match from the start when she takes charge of Harrogate vs Port Vale in League Two… and she predicts the Premier League will see female officials in 10-15 years

  • Rebecca Welch will be the first woman to referee a men’s Football League game 
  • She will take charge of Harrogate Town v Port Value in League on Easter Monday 
  • Welch believes the Premeir League could see female referees in 10 to 15 years 
  • The 37-year-old is the highest ranked female official in English football 

Rebecca Welch will make history after becoming the first female referee to be appointed for a men’s Football League match.

Welch, who is the highest ranked female official in English football, will take charge of the League 2 clash between Harrogate Town and Port Vale on Easter Monday.

Amy Fearn refereed the final 15 minutes of a a Championship game between Coventry and Nottingham Forest in 2010 as injury replacement but Welch is the first to receive an official appointment. 

Rebecca Welch is the first female referee to be appointed for a men's football league match

Rebecca Welch is the first female referee to be appointed for a men’s football league match

The 37-year-old has been selected following ongoing review of her performances this season, with referee chiefs Mike Riley and Mike Jones approving her appointment. 

She has been a regular in the National League and Women’s Super League and took charge of the Women’s FA Cup final in November. 

The official, who hails from Washington in Tyne and Wear, took up refereeing 11 years ago and said she never expected to progress so quickly. 

The official will take charge of Harrogate Town v Port Vale in League Two on Easter Monday

The official will take charge of Harrogate Town v Port Vale in League Two on Easter Monday

‘It seems to have been a whirlwind over the past 11 years and now we’re a week away from one of the biggest games of my career,’ Welch told Sky Sports News.

‘I’ve always said, through all my promotions, I want to be appointed because I am in the top 10 match officials on that list. I never want to be appointed based on anything else. I’ve got faith in the system, and I’ve been rewarded.’ 

Her appointment follows the historic steps made by Stephanie Frappart and Kateryna Monzul, who both refereed men’s World Cup qualifiers for the first time last weekend.

Welch believes it is realistic to expect female referees in the Premier League in the next decade. 

Welch believes the Premier League could see female referees in the next 10 to 15 years

Welch believes the Premier League could see female referees in the next 10 to 15 years

Assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis has been a regular in the top flight since making her first appearance in 2010.

‘If it’s not me, I’ve got no doubt, in the next 10 to 15 years, we will see a female referee in the Premier League,’ Welch added.

‘We’ll get Monday out of the way. I don’t really try to focus too much on the future, I always take one game at a time. In the men’s game, my next promotion would be the Football League. If I finish in the top one or two per cent at the end of the season, I put myself in a position to be selected. I’ve got to keep on performing, achieving those marks, to get those rewards.’

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