Rebbecca 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, 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.
“I’m still trying to let it sink in,” Welch told Sky Sports News. “I got the news on Saturday and haven’t come back down to earth yet. I’m very fortunate to have been given this opportunity and I’m really excited about it.
“My dad is probably my biggest fan, so he’s over the moon. My mum doesn’t know a lot about football. She’s excited, but I don’t think she knows why! They’re really proud.