Welch Becomes 1st Woman To Ref In English Men’s Pro League

Welch Becomes 1st Woman To Ref In English Men’s Pro League

HARROGATE, England: Rebecca Welch became the first female referee to officiate an English mens professional league game on Monday, and the managers of the teams involved were full of praise for her performance.

The 37-year-old Welch took charge of Port Vales 2-0 win over Harrogate in the fourth tier.

She is on FIFAs international list and has twice been referee for the Womens FA Cup final, in 2017 and 2020. She took up refereeing 11 years ago.

Harrogate manager Simon Weaver said he hopes Welchs display signals the start of more women officiating in the English Football League, which covers the three leagues below the Premier League.

Hopefully its just par for the course that we see female referees and officials in the EFL, Weaver said. Its about time.

Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke said Welch was focused and didnt get much wrong.

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

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