14 December 2023

Rebecca Welch to become first female Premier League referee

14 December 2023

Rebecca Welch will become the first female referee in the Premier League when she takes charge of Fulham against Burnley on December 23.

Welch became a referee in 2010, balancing the role alongside her job in the NHS.

In 2021, she was the first woman to be appointed to referee a match in the Football League for the Sky Bet League Two fixture between Harrogate and Port Vale.

Welch, who comes from Washington in Tyne and Wear, was also the first woman to referee matches in the Championship and third round of the FA Cup.

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

During her career, Welch has also officiated high-profile matches in the Women’s Super League, twice refereeing the Women’s FA Cup final and she has also taken charge of international matches, including at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

The Premier League also confirmed Sam Allison will become the first black official to take charge of a match for 15 years when Sheffield United host Luton on Boxing Day.

Uriah Rennie was the Premier League’s first black referee, officiating in the competition for 11 years until 2008.

Allison, 42, played for Swindon, Bristol City, Bournemouth and Exeter before starting on his refereeing career.

Having continued work as a firefighter, Allison turned to full-time refereeing and officiated in the Football League from 2020, where he has taken charge of more than 100 matches.

Allison was fourth official for the Premier League game between Brighton and Chelsea in October 2022.

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