When Fulham takes on Burnely at the Craven Cottage on the 23rd of December, 2023, it will be a historical day in the Premier League. Before that game, no female referee even officiated in a Premier League game. But, that will change as Rebecca Welch is set to become the first-ever woman referee in the Premier League. The PGMOL or Professional Game Match Officials Limited announced this officially making the Matchday 18 of this Premier League season, a historical one.
Rebecca Welch – a pioneer for Premier League aspiring woman referees
Rebecca Welch started her career as a football referee in 2010. At that time, she was working for the NHS as well. However, soon she turned her attention to being a full-time referee. With a career span of over a decade, Rebecca officiated in many high-profile football matches such as the Women’s FA Cup finals of 2017 and 2020. She was also the first-ever female referee in an EFL game. So, it is fitting that she would become the first-ever woman referee in a Premier League game.
While telling about how she became a referee, Rebecca Welch told the Independent, “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.”
Last month, Rebecca also became the first woman referee to be the fourth official in a Premier League game when Fulham played Manchester United at Craven Cottage. She is set to make history in the same venue by becoming the first-ever female referee to officiate in a Premier League game. Rebecca Welch is a true pioneer for woman referees all over the world.