Rebecca Welch makes history by becoming first woman to referee an EFL match

Rebecca Welch explains a decision to the players from Harrogate Town and Port Vale during her EFL refereeing debut. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images/Reuters

37-year-old Rebecca Welch made history by becoming the first woman to referee a full English Football League (EFL) match, when she took charge of the League Two clash between Harrogate Town and Port Vale recently.

Port Vale won the match 2-0 played at Harrogate’s EnviroView Stadium and Welch’s decision-making and composure was praised by all.

From Washington, County Durham, Welch has been refereeing for over a decade now.

While 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.

“It shows that there is a real opportunity to young girls who are wondering if to they are to take the whistle or are already referees they can aspire to be an EFL referee or like Sian Massey-Ellis operating in the Premier League,” Welch told the EFL website.

Welch features on FIFA’s international list and 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 and, moe recently, in 2020.

Welch has shattered the glass ceiling with her work, and we hope her achievements will encourage many other women to follow suit. What do you think of Welch’s achievements? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

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