This afternoon a decision was made to appoint Rebecca Welch as the first female Referee in an English Football League match. The match is taking place on Easter Monday (5th April) in Harrogate in the CNG Stadium at 3pm. The game is a League Two match between Harrogate and Port Vale Although she is not new to being a Referee and indeed there have been a large number of female referees in other settings, this is the first case in the EFL selecting a woman as their main Referee. Rebecca Welch is the highest ranking female referee in the Football Association and she has officiated a number of high profile women’s games including the 2017 FA Cup final and internationals. According to Rebecca
It was a shock … I got a phone call from [referees chief] Mike Jones and my initial response was – ‘Oh what’ve I done?!’
Given how significant the female football club in Lewes is, it is perhaps encouraging that Rebecca is from the North East as it demonstrates a wide range of locations from which strong cases are being made. It will be fantastic if she is not the only female referee this year and then next year if more are appointed that would be really encouraging. It is a great decision.