Rebecca Welch becomes EFL's first-ever female referee as Port Vale win at Harrogate in League Two
Rebecca Welch became the first-ever female referee to oversee a full men's match in the English Football League as she took charge of Port Vale's 2-0 win over Harrogate in League Two. The former NHS administrator handed out just one yellow card in the match as she made history in Yorkshire.
Match referee Rebecca Welch (C) gestures during the Sky Bet League Two match between Harrogate Town and Port Vale at The EnviroVent Stadium on April 05, 2021 in Harrogate, England.
In 2019, Stephanie Frappart was in charge as Liverpool and Chelsea clashed in the UEFA Super Cup, but this is the first time a woman has overseen a domestic match between two Football League teams, barring Amy Fearn, who was in the middle of the final 20 minutes of a match between Coventry and Nottingham Forest after the original referee was injured.
Welch told SB Nation before the match: "I’m nervous for every single game – it doesn’t matter what game it is, whether it’s a top of the league women’s game on TV or a game locally, I always get butterflies in my stomach.
"I think that’s a good thing because if I’m nervous it means I care. But I won’t approach it differently to any other game."
Neymar and Messi set to reunite? But not at PSG?! - Euro Papers
Welch began refereeing in 2010 but did not give up her day job, in National Health Service Administration, until 2019. She has long been a fixture in the Women's Super League and is UEFA-certified, meaning she can officiate international matches.