⚽⚽The first female Premier League referee will be Rebecca Welch



The first female Premier League referee will be Rebecca Welch

Sam Allison, a 40-year-old, will officiate Fulham vs. Burnley on December 23. That day, Allison will become the first black referee in 15 years.

When Rebecca Welch officiates Fulham's home game against Burnley on December 23, she will become the first female Premier League referee. When Sam Allison referees Sheffield United vs. Luton at Bramall Lane three days later, he will also create history by becoming the first black official to officiate in the top division in fifteen years.

Welch and Allison belong to the development group of officials fast-tracked by Professional Game Match Officials Limited to help improve the quality of refereeing in the four top divisions in England. The pair have been refereeing in the Championship this season, with Welch also acting as a fourth official in the Premier League. “Rebecca and Sam were part of the development group that was created last year,” said Howard Webb, the chief refereeing officer at PGMOL. “Credit to them they have delivered good performances in the Championship this season and deserve their opportunities due to their quality and the talent that they have. “Of course it’s significant in terms of Rebecca being the first female to take the whistle in the Premier League … and Sam being the first black referee in the Premier League since Uriah Rennie back in 2008. The profile of the game[s] will serve as a role model for others in under-represented communities and that is undoubtedly a positive. Welch and Allison are members of the officials' development group that Professional Game Match Officials Limited has expedited in order to enhance the standard of officiating in England's four highest levels. This season, the two have officiated in the Championship, with Welch serving as a fourth official in the Premier League. "Sam and Rebecca were a part of the development group that was established last year," PGMOL Chief Refereeing Officer Howard Webb said. "Kudos to them; they deserve their opportunities because of their quality and talent. They have shown well in the Championship this season. "Obviously, it's important since Rebecca was the first woman to blow the whistle in the Premier League. and Sam

Welch, 40, has been refereeing since 2010 and has hit a number of milestones. She has taken charge of matches in the Women’s Super League and Women’s Champions League and officiated at this year’s Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. In the men’s game she became the first woman to referee in the Championship in 2021 and the first to referee in the FA Cup in 2022. She has also, however, been the subject of abuse, with two teenagers arrested on suspicion of targeting Welch with “misogynistic chanting” during Birmingham’s Championship fixture against Sheffield Wednesday last month. Allison was added to the national list of referees in 2020 and promoted to the Championship this season. At the time of his appointment he told the Guardian “I feel I’ve done my apprenticeship, I’ve done my learning. I’ve got to my position and have not allowed anything to prevent me from being successful.” Since starting to referee in 2010, Welch, 40, has accomplished several firsts. She officiated at this year's Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and oversaw matches in the Women's Super League and Women's Champions League. She made history in the men's game as the first female referee in the FA Cup in 2022 and the Championship in 2021. But Welch has also been the target of abuse; two teens were detained last month on suspicion of directing "misogynistic chanting" at her during Birmingham's Championship match against Sheffield Wednesday. In 2020, Allison was elevated to the Championship and placed on the national roster of referees. Upon his appointment, he disclosed

Welch and Allison had gained from their participation in the development group, according to Webb, but PGMOL sought to reach as many people as possible with new tools to assist in the growth of additional officials. He declared, "We're looking at officials who sit outside of that group in addition to officials within it." "People grow at different rates. Our goal is to provide opportunity to those who are doing well so that we can attract more people to refereeing right away." Webb said that Welch and Allison had benefited from being in the development group, but PGMOL wanted to provide new tools to as many people as possible to help produce more officials.


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