Rebecca Welch Continues to be a Trailblazer in English Football

History will be made as Rebecca Welch is set to become the first women's referee in a Premier League match. She will be in charge of the Fulham versus Burnley tie which will be played on 23 December 2023. Photo: Screengrab off North Riding FA’s YouTube channel

History will be made as Rebecca Welch is set to become the first women’s referee in a Premier League match. She will be in charge of the Fulham versus Burnley tie which will be played on 23 December 2023. 

“When people ask us why would you want to be a referee, I pose the question back and say why wouldn’t you want to be a referee? 

Rebecca Welch, set to become the first women’s referee in a Premier League match

Welch has become a record breaker in English football. She refereed a Championship match between Preston North and Birmingham City in January making her the first woman to do so. In November she reached another milestone as she was the first female fourth official in a Premier League match involving Manchester United and Fulham. 

The 40-year-old is well known for her officiating in the League Cup, she took charge of her first match in the EFL in 2021. As records show, Welch has been steadily working her way up to the top ranks of officiating. 

When it comes to women’s soccer Welch can be seen as a regular, she has refereed games in the Women’s Super League (WSL) and was also part of the FIFA Women’s World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand. She was also in charge of the 2017 and 2020 Women’s FA Cup final’s. 

Her refereeing journey began in 2010 while she worked at the National Health Service (NHS).

Speaking in a previous interview on North Riding FA’s YouTube channel, Welch says she has a deep love for refereeing.

“Yes we all know football is about opinions, so at times, not everyone is going to agree with the decisions you make, but that’s just part of the game, and if you take that out if the game, then there is no talking points of it. Yes you get criticised, and questioned, but it’s just part of the game, and the support networks we have in place – both in county level and national level – are absolutely brilliant.”

Meanwhile, it’s not just Welch doing amazing things in sport but also Jacqueline Williams. The  Jamaican cricket umpire also made history when she became the first Caribbean woman to stand in a men’s T20 International involving two full member teams. 

The 47-year-old was in the middle for the recent limited overs match between the West Indies and England on Thursday, 14 December 2023.


Photo caption: History will be made as Rebecca Welch is set to become the first women’s referee in a Premier League match. She will be in charge of the Fulham versus Burnley tie which will be played on 23 December 2023. Photo: Screengrab off North Riding FA’s YouTube channel 

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