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Referee Rebecca Welch during the Women Euro 2022 Group B match between Denmark and Spain at Brentford Community Stadium in London in July 16. Image Credit: AP

London: Rebecca Welch will become the first female referee of a Premier League match after being appointed to oversee Fulham’s game against Burnley on December 23.

Welch became a referee in 2010, combining the role with her job in Britain’s National Health Service.

In 2021, she was the first woman to be appointed to referee a match in the Football League when taking charge of the fourth-tier fixture between Harrogate and Port Vale.

Welch was also the first female official to referee matches in the Championship and third round of the FA Cup.

Last month she became the first woman to act as fourth official in a Premier League game as part of the team for Fulham’s match against Manchester United.

High-profile fixtures

Welch has also taken charge of several high-profile women’s fixtures, including games at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Other countries have been using female referees for years. In Germany, Bibiana Steinhaus was the first woman to referee a Bundesliga game, in 2017. Steinhaus is married to Howard Webb, who is the current chief refereeing officer of the top refereeing body in England.

French referee Stéphanie Frappart became the first woman to take charge of a men’s World Cup game when she handled Germany vs Costa Rica in November last year, having previously done games in the Champions League and in the French league since 2019.

The Premier League also said Sam Allison will become the first Black official to take charge of a match for 15 years when he referees Sheffield United vs Luton on December 26. Uriah Rennie officiated in the Premier League for 11 years until 2008.