Rebecca Welch, first woman ref in men’s pro league


Rebecca Welch became the first female referee to officiate an English men`s professional league game, and the managers of the teams involved were full of praise for her performance. The 37-year-old Welch took charge of Port Vale`s 2-0 win over Harrogate in the fourth tier on Monday.
She is on FIFA`s international list and has twice been referee for the Women`s FA Cup final, in 2017 and 2020. She took up refereeing 11 years ago. Harrogate manager Simon Weaver said he hopes Welch`s display signals the start of more women officiating in the English Football League, which covers the three leagues below the Premier League. “Hopefully it`s just par for the course that we see female referees and officials in the EFL,” Weaver said.
“It`s about time.” Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke said Welch was “focused and didn`t get much wrong.” “We need to see more women referees and lineswomen moving forward,” Clarke said. “They should be judged like anyone else and she`s had a good start.”
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