Rebecca Welch has become the first female referee to be appointed to an English Football League match as she prepares to take charge of the League Two clash between Harrogate Town and Port Vale next week, the EFL said on Tuesday. Welch has previously officiated men’s matches in the National League as well as elite women’s matches such as the FA Cup final in 2017, but on Monday she will set a new benchmark for female referees in English football.
Although Amy Fearn became the first woman to referee an EFL game as a second-half replacement for injured referee Tony Bates in a Championship match in 2010, Welch is the first woman to get an official appointment. “It shows that there is a real opportunity to young girls who are wondering if to they are to take the whistle or are already referees they can aspire to be an EFL referee or like Sian Massey-Ellis operating in the Premier League,” Welch said on the EFL website https://www.efl.com/news/2021/march/rebecca-welch-becomes-first-female-referee-appointed-to-efl.
“I’m really proud of it because my journey as a referee I started with not really having any aspirations to be doing things like this interview.”