Rebecca Welch to become Premier League's first female referee

Welch to oversee match between Fulham and Burnley on December 23

Rebecca Welch has worked her way up since taking charge of a Football League match in 2021. PA
Powered by automated translation

The Premier League is all set to have its first female referee with Rebecca Welch appointed to oversee Fulham's game against Burnley on December 23.

Welch became a referee in 2010, while working for Britain's National Health Service.

In 2021, she became the first woman to be appointed to referee a match in the Football League. She took charge of the fourth-tier fixture between Harrogate and Port Vale.

Welch was also the first female official to referee matches in the Championship and third round of the FA Cup.

Last month she became the first woman to act as fourth official in a Premier League game as part of the team for Fulham's match against Manchester United.

Welch has also taken charge of several high-profile women's fixtures, including at the 2023 Women's World Cup.

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) also confirmed that Sam Allison will become the first black official to take charge of a Premier match for 15 years. Allison will be the referee for Sheffield United v Luton Town match on December 26.

Howard Webb, the PGMOL's head of referees, said both Welch and Allison deserved their chance.

"They are both part of the PGMOL development group which fast-tracks talented officials through the pathway," Webb told Sky Sports. "We have already seen three officials from the group take charge of their first Premier League games and now we have number four and five and it shows the value of that work.

"We have not seen a female take charge of a Premier League game before so it's significant, and Sam being the first black official with a whistle in the Premier League since Uriah Rennie. It demonstrates people can make it through the pathway from groups that are not traditionally well represented."

Updated: December 15, 2023, 4:24 AM