Rebecca Welch: 7 things to know about first EPL female referee

 Rebecca Welch: 7 things to know about first EPL female referee

The fact that a woman officiated an EPL (English Premier league) fixture should go without saying and won’t require commentary in an ideal world. It would be considered typical. However, last Saturday was a historic day.

Indeed, as you may have heard, read, or even saw on Saturday, December 23, 2023, when Rebecca Welch became the first female referee in Premier League history taking charge of Fulham vs Burnley game at Craven Cottage.

However, there are some details about the 40-year-old trailblazer that you might not be aware of. The following seven facts about Welsh are essential to know:

1. The 40 years old Rebecca Welch hails from Washington in Tyne and Wear, England.

2. She grew up playing football, but she didn’t start blowing the whistle until she was 27 years old, after a friend had challenged her to. She revealed in an interview, “I played football and didn’t even think about refereeing until one of my really good friends, who is a referee, refereed us, I spent the whole game telling her how to do her job! Her response was, ‘If you think it’s that easy, give it a go’. That’s how it happened and 10 years later here I am.”

3. Welch was an administrator for the NHS before becoming a qualified official through the Durham County FA. She started officiating university football games and Sunday leagues in Sunderland in 2010, but she continued in her post combining both until when she quit NHS in 2020 after being promoted to the UEFA elite category of women referees.

4. She was managing the women’s game by the 2018–19 season in addition to officiating in the National League, the fifth division of English football and in 2020, she was elevated to the UEFA elite category of women referees and resigned from her position as an NHS administrator. She oversaw the Women’s FA Cup final in 2017 and 2020.

5. After officiating in the EFL for several seasons, Rebecca Welch became the first female referee to oversee an entire EFL game when she officiated Harrogate vs. Port Vale in 2021.

6. Welch was also selected to referee at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup that was jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand, she took charge of three matches, including the round of 16 fixture between Australia and Denmark.

7. Earlier this season, Welch made history as the first female fourth official in the Premier League when the Fulham played Manchester United at Craven Cottage on 4th November.

See also: Man City’s first UCL, Messi’s 8th Ballon D’or… Unforgettable football moments of 2023

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