- Rebecca Welch will be the fourth official for Fulham vs Manchester United
- She will be the first ever woman referee to be involved in a Premier League game
- Big debates on Man United, Chelsea and Arsenal on It’s All Kicking Off podcast
Rebecca Welch is set to make history for Manchester United’s Premier League clash with Fulham.
Welch, 39, will be the fourth official for Fulham’s clash against the Red Devils at Craven Cottage – becoming the first ever woman referee to be involved in a Premier League game.
The promotion of Welch is also the latest example of PGMOL advancing diversity among officials.
Back in January, Bhupinder Singh Gill was 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 quickly risen through the ranks in recent times.
Mail Sport breaks down everything you need to know about Premier League history-making referee Rebecca Welch.
Rebecca Welch will be the first ever woman referee to be involved in a Premier League game
Welch will be involved in Manchester United’s Premier League clash with Fulham
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Who is Rebecca Welch?
Born in Washington, Tyne and Wear, Welch qualified through the Durham County FA and began refereeing in Sunday leagues in Sunderland.
Welch began her refereeing career in 2010, while also working an administrative job in the NHS. The 39-year-old went full time in 2019.
Since then, she has featured regularly in the Women’s Super League. Welch has consistently broken records as she was also the first woman to referee an EFL match when she took charge of Harrogate Town vs Port Vale in League Two in 2021.
She has had a fast rise up the officiating ladder over 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 game in the process.
Welch also took charge of three games at the Women’s World Cup over the summer after being promoted to UEFA’s elite category of female referees in 2020.
For United’s clash with Fulham, Welch will become the fourth woman to be a part of the team of officials for a Premier League game. It follows on from assistant referees Wendy Toms, Sian Massey-Ellis and Natalie Aspinall.
There will be two women officials featuring in the showdown between Fulham and United. As well as Welch, Massey-Ellis will be working as an Assistant VAR for the fixture.
As alluded to, the promotion of Welch is also the latest example of PGMOL advancing diversity among officials.
Bhupinder Singh Gill was the first Sikh-Punjabi to be an assistant referee in the top flight when Southampton played Nottingham Forest back in January.
Welch – who refereed at the Women’s World Cup – went full time back in 2019
Welch was the first female to officiate in the EFL when she took charge of Harrogate vs Port Vale in 2021 in League Two
What has she said on refereeing?
Speaking ahead of Harrogate Town’s clash with Port Vale – where Welch became the first woman to referee an EFL match, she revealed that it was important to show that woman can proceed to the next level
Speaking to The Guardian, Welch said: ‘I’m really excited and this is what I’ve been working towards. In the last 10 years I’ve put a lot of hard work and commitment in and I’ve reaped the rewards from that by getting promoted. To be given this opportunity to work in the EFL is amazing for me.
‘I’d never seen myself as a trailblazer until the last year, where I’ve started to accept it because I think it’s important that people who are fortunate enough to be in my position or similar can show people that this can be done,’ she said.
‘I do think it’s important to show that women who are in the top 1% of their category can proceed to the next level so it definitely makes others down the pyramid look up and know that they can achieve the same.’
IT’S ALL KICKING OFF!
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