FA Cup history: Welch first female ref in 3rd rd.


Rebecca Welch will become the first woman to referee an FA Cup third round match when she oversees Birmingham City‘s clash with Plymouth Argyle on Jan. 8.

This is not the first time Welch has made history after she became the first woman appointed to referee an English Football League match, overseeing Port Vale’s 2-0 win over Harrogate in April.

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Amy Fearn was the first woman to referee in the English Football League when she came on as an injury substitute for a colleague in 2010, but only Welch has been appointed to take charge of a match.

“I’d never seen myself as a trailblazer until the last year, where I’ve started to accept it because I think it’s important that people who are fortunate enough to be in my position or similar can show people that this can be done,” she said at the time.

“I do think it’s important to show that women who are in the top one percent of their category can proceed to the next level so it definitely makes others down the pyramid look up and know that they can achieve the same.”

The 38-year-old previously worked with England’s National Health Service. She qualified as a referee in 2010 but worked with the NHS alongside her football duties until 2019.

She has also refereed games in the Women’s Super League, Women’s FA Cup, Women’s Community Shield and is on UEFA’s list of elite women’s referees alongside the likes of Stephanie Frappart and the now-retired Bibiana Steinhaus.

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