- Rebecca Welch becomes the fourth official for Fulham vs Manchester United
- She will be the first ever female referee to be involved in a Premier League match
- Major debates about Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal continue It’s all Kicking Off podcast
Rebecca Welch will make history for the Premier League match between Manchester United and Fulham.
Welch, 39, will become the fourth official for Fulham’s match against the Red Devils at Craven Cottage, becoming the first ever female referee to be involved in a Premier League match.
Welch’s promotion is also the latest example of how PGMOL promotes diversity among civil servants.
In January, Bhupinder Singh Gill became the first Sikh-Punjabi to be an assistant referee in the top flight when Southampton played Nottingham Forest. Several other young and promising referees have also risen quickly through the ranks in recent times.
Mail Sport explains everything you need to know about history-making Premier League referee Rebecca Welch.
Rebecca Welch becomes the first ever female referee to officiate in a Premier League match
Welch will be involved in Manchester United’s Premier League match against Fulham
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Who is Rebecca Welch?
Born in Washington, Tyne and Wear, Welch qualified through the Durham County FA and started refereeing in the Sunday competitions in Sunderland.
Welch began her refereeing career in 2010, while also working an administrative job in the NHS. The 39-year-old started working full-time in 2019.
Since then she has been a regular in the Women’s Super League. Welch has consistently broken records as she also became the first woman to officiate an EFL match when she took charge of Harrogate Town vs Port Vale in League Two in 2021.
She has enjoyed a rapid rise up the refereeing ladder in the past year, with Welch taking charge of Birmingham City vs Preston North End in January, becoming the first female official to referee a Championship match.
Welch also took charge of three matches at the Women’s World Cup this summer, after being promoted to UEFA’s elite category of female referees in 2020.
For United’s match against Fulham, Welch will become the fourth woman to be part of the team of officials for a Premier League match. It follows on from assistant referees Wendy Toms, Sian Massey-Ellis and Natalie Aspinall.
There will be two female officials present in the clash between Fulham and United. Alongside Welch, Massey-Ellis will work as assistant VAR for the match.
As mentioned, Welch’s promotion is also the latest example of how PGMOL promotes diversity among civil servants.
Bhupinder Singh Gill became the first Sikh-Punjabi to be an assistant referee in the top flight when Southampton played Nottingham Forest in January.
Welch – who was a referee at the Women’s World Cup – started working full-time in 2019
Welch was the first woman to compete in the EFL when she took charge of Harrogate vs Port Vale in League Two in 2021
What did she say about referees?
Ahead of Harrogate Town’s clash with Port Vale – where Welch became the first woman to referee an EFL match – she revealed it was important to show women can go to the next level.
Speak with The guardWelch said: “I’m really excited and this is what I’ve been working towards. Over the last ten years I have put in a lot of hard work and dedication and I have reaped the rewards by being promoted. It’s great for me to have this opportunity to work at the EFL.
“I never saw myself as a pioneer until last year when I started to accept it, because I think it’s important that people who are lucky enough to be in my position or something like that can show people that this is possible. ‘ she said.
“I think it’s important to show that women who are in the top 1% of their category can move on to the next level, so that others further down the pyramid are sure to look up and know they can achieve the same. ‘
IT’S ALL GOING OFF!