Premier League announces history-making referees for Christmas period

BREAKING NEWS Premier League to have its FIRST-EVER female referee for a match next week, as Rebecca Welch, 40, makes history by taking charge of Fulham v Burnley

  • Welch served as a fourth official when Man United met Fulham last month 
  • Both she and Allison currently referee in Championship following promotions 
  • Manchester United fans must be DREADING Anfield trip – It’s All Kicking Off

The Premier League will field its first ever female referee during Fulham’s home tie with Burnley on December 23, and the first black referee since 2008 later that month. 

PGMOL chief Howard Webb confirmed that Rebecca Welch will be in charge of the history-making league tie as the Premier League breaks new ground. 

At the start of November, Welch became the first female official to be involved with a Premier League tie when she served as the fourth official when Manchester United met Fulham at Craven Cottage. 

The 40-year-old began her refereeing career in 2010, while also working an administrative job in the NHS, later turning to officiating full-time in 2019. 

As well as featuring regularly in the Women’s Super League, Welch has consistently broken records, becoming the first woman to referee an EFL match when she took charge of Harrogate Town vs Port Vale in League Two in 2021. 

Rebecca Welch and Sam Allison will referee history-making ties over the Christmas period

This 2023-24 season both Welch and Allison have been refereeing in the Championship

The 39-year-old became the first black referee in the top four divisions after 13 years in 2020

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Sam Allison – who will oversee the match between Sheffield United and Luton on December 26 – becomes the first black referee to officiate in the English top flight since Uriah Rennie 15 years ago. 

Before his retirement in 2008, Rennie officiated in the Premier League for 11 years. 

In 2020, the 42-year-old became the first black official in English football’s top four divisions, and both he and Welch were initially promoted to the Championship at the start of the 2023-24 season. 

In July, the PGMOL unveiled its new three-year strategy for grassroots refereeing on Thursday, with a target to improve diversity among officials at its heart.

The last black referee in the English top-flight was Uriah Rennie, who retired in 2008


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Howard Webb announced the history-making refereeing appointments on Thursday afternoon

The FA is committed to a net increase of 1,000 women referees and 1,000 black or Asian referees in the overall system in three years’ time, equivalent in both cases to a 50 per cent increase.

The strategy also aims ensure the proportion of referees from under-represented ethnicities and women operating within the men’s professional game is equal to the proportion of black and Asian/women referees nationally by 2026. 

In January, Bhupinder Singh Gill became the first Sikh-Punjabi to be an assistant referee in the top flight when Southampton played Nottingham Forest. 

Welch and Allison will be the fourth and fifth referees from PGMOL’s Select Group 2 to take charge of a Premier League this season as Webb eyes the promotion of deserving talents. 

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