Who is female Premier League referee Rebecca Welch? | The Sun
REBECCA Welch is set to make history AGAIN by being appointed as the first female fourth official of a Premier League game.
Here we find out more about the groundbreaking ref.
Who is Rebecca Welch?
Welch took up football refereeing while she was still working in the health service.
The former NHS admin officer started her life as a ref in university football clashes and Sunday League games.
And while the college football encounters involving teams of female students were a “doddle”, her experience of refereeing men’s Sunday division fixtures was less straightforward.
Welch told the FA’s web site: “The first couple (of matches) I did were women’s university games and the players weren’t really that bothered about so it was a doddle.
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“Then the third game I did was Sunderland Sunday league football and it was a completely different kettle of fish.
“That took some getting used to but I am so grateful for the grassroots football experience because I never would have got to where I am now without it.
“Sometimes I used to go home and chuck my bag down and I’d tell myself I’m never doing it again but you soon realise that not every day is going to be a good day in the office – it’s just like anything else.
“I had to analyse my performances and work out what I could do to improve and that’s something I really enjoy.
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"I’ve been doing this for more than ten years now and I guarantee that the good days will far outweigh the bad ones in the long run.”
Welch eventually worked her way into the higher echelons of match officiating, becoming part of an elite group on Fifa’s international list.
The Sunderland-based administrator also made her mark on the women’s game covering domestic and international encounters.
In addition to refereeing the Women’s FA Cup final twice, in 2017 and 2020, Welch has officiated in the men’s National League for three seasons and taken charge of WSL, Women’s Champions League and international clashes.
She was selected to oversee Harrogate’s clash with Port Vale in April 2021 following an ongoing review of her performances this season and official approval from referee chiefs Mike Riley and Mike Jones.
The Washington-based ref is reported to be among the individuals included within the Professional Game Match Officials top group of referees.
Welch added: “I’ve always said, through all my promotions, I want to be appointed because I am in the top 10 match officials on that list.
“I never want to be appointed based on anything else. I’ve got faith in the system, and I’ve been rewarded.”
Rebecca broke ground again in January 2022 when she became the first woman to to take charge of FA Cup match — the Birmingham vs Plymouth third-round tie.
And on November 4, 2023 the trailblazer is set to become the first woman to be a fourth official of a Premier League game when Fulham take on Manchester United.
Where is Rebecca Welch from?
Rebecca is originally from the town of Washington, but now lives in Sunderland.
Both are situated in the ceremonial county of Tyne and Wear.
It borders Northumberland to the north and County Durham to the south.
When did Rebecca Welch become a referee?
Rebecca first picked up a referee’s whistle 13 years ago at the age of 27 after being dared to do so by a friend.
She earned her qualifications as an official through Durham County FA.
Welch has gone on to break ground as the first woman to officiate Football League, FA Cup and Premier League fixtures.
Does Rebecca Welch play football?
Yes, Rebecca does play football.
She has played the sport since childhood.
Welch told the FA's website: “I played football and didn't even think about refereeing until one of my really good friends, who is a referee, refereed us.”
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“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.”
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