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Rebecca Welch Set To Make History As First Female Referee In Premier League

Rebecca Welch will become the first female referee to officiate a Premier League game when she takes charge of Fulham vs Burnley on December 23, 2023. Welch has already taken charge of games in the Championship and the FA Cup, setting a new milestone for both

Rebecca Welch will take charge of Fulham vs Burnley on December 23.
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Rebecca Welch will make history by becoming the first female official to referee in a Premier League match when she enters the pitch on December 23, 2023, to take charge of Fulham's bout with Burnley. Welch, 40, was one of two Championship referees promoted to the top level for the upcoming fixture crunch, the other being Sam Allison, who will become the first black referee to officiate a top flight match in 15 years. (More Football News)

Speaking to the media, PGMOL's chief referee officer and a former referee himself, Howard Webb, credited the pair on their accomplishment and underlined the need for greater diversity in the field. 

“Rebecca and Sam were part of the development group that was created last year,” said Webb. “Credit to them they have delivered good performances in the Championship this season and deserve their opportunities due to their quality and the talent that they have.

“Of course it’s significant in terms of Rebecca being the first female to take the whistle in the Premier League … and Sam being the first black referee in the Premier League since Uriah Rennie back in 2008. The profile of the game[s] will serve as a role model for others in under-represented communities and that is undoubtedly a positive.

“We need greater diversity because undoubtedly there is quality in all communities and previously for whatever reason we have not been able to bring people through from those groups and now it’s happening at last thankfully.”

Welch has more than a decade of experience refereeing games in a multitude of events, including the FIFA Women's World Cup. She became the first woman referee to oversee a match in the Championship, England football pyramid's second level, in 2021 followed by the FA Cup in 2022. Apart from the Women's Super League and the Women's Champions League, she has also officiated in the Premier League, albeit only as a fourth official. 

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