09 January 2023

Rebecca Welch and Cheryl Foster named among referees for 2023 Women’s World Cup

09 January 2023

British duo Rebecca Welch and Cheryl Foster have been named among the referees for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Welch is the only English referee for the tournament, which takes place in July and August, with Foster Wales’ sole representative.

Natalie Aspinall has been included on the assistant referee list with compatriot Sian Massey-Ellis selected for VAR duties, taking the total of English match officials to three.

Michelle O’Neill is the only person from Ireland, and will be an assistant referee at the tournament.

FIFA has selected 33 referees, 55 assistant referees and 19 video match officials for the World Cup, with six women video match officials included for the first time.

Welch became the first woman to referee a match in the English Football League in April 2021 when she took charge of Harrogate’s home game with Port Vale. She was made history when she became the first woman to officiate in the third round of the men’s FA Cup in January 2022, overseeing the match between Birmingham and Plymouth.

So far in the 2022-23 season, Welch has refereed in League One, League Two and the Papa John’s Trophy, as well as the most recent round of the FA Cup.

Foster, along with Welch, was a referee at Euro 2022 last summer, while Massey-Ellis has previously been an assistant referee in the Premier League and Europa League.

“As always, the criteria we have used is ‘quality first’ and the selected on-field match officials represent the highest level of refereeing worldwide,” said FIFA referees committee chairman Pierluigi Collina.

“We all remember the very successful FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 in France. The high standard of refereeing contributed significantly to that success.

“The aim for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 is to repeat that success and to convince again with excellent referees’ performances.”

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