Rebecca Welch becomes first female referee in English football

Rebecca Welch has made history by becoming the first woman to referee a game in the English Football League. The 37-year-old oversaw Port Vale’s 2-0 away victory at Harrogate today.

“When I decided to become a referee 11 years ago, I had no idea I would be the first female in the EFL, it didn’t even register on my radar!” she said.

“I’ve always said throughout all my promotions, I want to be promoted on merit, rather than an appointment based on anything else. I do believe that in the next 10 to 15 years, we’ll see a female referee in the Premier League.”

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She was recently promoted to UEFA’s elite category of officials and has taken charge of the Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley previously.

Two referee chiefs Mike Riley and Mike Jones were the selectors after reviews of her performances this season.

A former Premier League referee told Sky Sports News in an interview. Dermot Gallagher said the sky is the limit for Welch

“It’s all little milestones, isn’t it?. I read an article by Rebecca last week, it just exuded pride in what she’s done,” he said.

“Her journey to this stage has seen her referee many, many many big important games.

“She has been on the WSL for a number of years, she referees in the Champions League, in the Women’s Champions League”.

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Welch also recieved praise from Harrogate manager Simon Weaver and Port Vale’s boss Clarke. Both agreed she did a good job.

“We need to see more women referees and lineswomen moving forward. They should be judged like anyone else and she’s had a good start, said Clarke.

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