Rebecca Welch becomes first female referee to officiate EFL game
She has taken charge of Harrogate vs Port Vale this afternoon.
Rebecca Welch has become the first woman to referee an English Football League game in the competition's 132-year history.
Welch is the highest-ranked female referee in English football and has been refereeing for more than a decade.
She has previously refereed the Women's FA Cup final and has been promoted to UEFA's elite category of officials.
The first female referee in English Football League history!
Rebecca Welch takes charge of today's League Two clash between Harrogate Town and Port Vale 👏 pic.twitter.com/CKJGqJCpG3
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) April 5, 2021
In what is undoubtedly a historic moment for women in football, it is hoped that it will be a move that creates more opportunities for women in football and promote the other paths and careers that women can have in the sport.
Paul Field, chairman of the Referees' Association, said that it can "only lift the recruitment of young ladies in the game."
Speaking last week about her appointment as referee of the League Two match, Welch said:
"When I decided to become a referee 11 years ago, I had no idea I would be the first female in the EFL, it didn't even register on my radar!
"I've always said throughout all my promotions, I want to be promoted on merit, rather than an appointment based on anything else. I do believe that in the next 10 to 15 years, we'll see a female referee in the Premier League."
There can be no doubt that this is a huge moment for the game in the UK, and here's hoping that Welch can inspire many others to get into the sport, whether it be playing or picking up a whistle.