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Rebecca Welsh will become the first female Premier League female referee

Rebecca Welsh will become the first female Premier League female referee

video caption, Howard Webb talks about a 'pivotal moment' in arbitration

Rebecca Welsh will become the first female Premier League match referee when she officiates Fulham's match against Burnley on December 23.

Sam Allison will also officiate a Premier League match in December, making him the first black Premier League referee in 15 years.

He will supervise Sheffield United's match against Luton on December 26.

Uriah Rennie – the last black referee in the league – retired from working in the top four divisions of English football in 2009. The last non-white referee in the Premier League – Jarnail Singh – retired in 2010.

“These are pivotal moments for Rebecca and Sam, who are officials of real quality,” Howard Webb, head of referees, told BBC Sport.

“They deserve their chance.”

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo, Welsh and Alisson will officiate Premier League matches over the Christmas period

In July, the Football Association set out plans to employ 50% more referees from “historically underrepresented” backgrounds by 2026, targeting an increase of 1,000 female referees and 1,000 black or Asian referees at all levels of football in three years.

Currently, 8% of officials are of black or Asian ethnicity, but only 3% in professional football. No black or Asian referee has officiated a Premier League match since Rennie's final in 2008.

Welsh has also officiated at the tournament this year, in addition to taking charge of the Women's Super League and Women's Champions League matches, and she also officiated at the Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in the summer.

Welch made history in November when she became the first woman to appear in the Premier League as a referee, taking on the role of fourth official as Manchester United beat Fulham 1-0 at Craven Cottage.

“Rebecca has been involved in some big games and I'm really confident she will make a Premier League appearance and be a good role model for women and girls who think refereeing is for them,” Webb said.

“Sam deserves his chance too. Maybe it will serve as a role model for other young people who may have previously thought that refereeing might not be for them.

“I hope they can show that refereeing can be for anyone – if you have a love of the game and the qualities required, you can get to the top.”

video caption, Aqeel Howson: “Now it's about seeing more diverse officials”
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