Rebecca Welch makes history as the first female referee to officiate a Premier League match

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The Premier League has its first female referee.

Rebecca Welch took charge of Fulham's match against Burnley on Saturday, in what was a historic moment for England's top flight.

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Several fans applauded her as she came out of the tunnel before the game at Craven Cottage, although Fulham fans were pessimistic about their chances without Mexican Raul Jimenez, who was sent off in Fulham's last match.

Welch had already worked as a fourth official in the Premier League and was part of the officiating team that oversaw the match between Fulham and Manchester United on November 4. She has also refereed matches in the Championship and the FA Cup.

Rebecca has been a referee for 13 years

Welch, 40, has been a qualified referee since 2010, initially combining her role with her job in the National Health Service before becoming a full-time match referee.

Welch has officiated major matches in the Women's Super League, as well as the 2017 and 2020 Women's FA Cup Finals at Wembley Stadium.

In the opening minutes of the match, she booked Fulham defender Calvin Bassey and it was the first booking of her Premier League career, and she had no trouble handling the game and did not make any controversial decisions or influence the result which ended 2-0 in Burnley's favor.

Premier League adds greater diversity with the arrival of Sam Allison

The Premier League will also have its first black referee in 15 years when Sam Allison takes charge of the match between Luton Town and Sheffield United on Boxing Day on Tuesday December 26.

Boxing Day is one of the most traditional days in English football, making him the first black referee in the competition since Uriah Rennie, who retired in 2008.

Last July, the Football Association of England pledged to recruit 50 percent more referees from "historically under-represented" backgrounds by 2026.

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