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Welch becomes Premier League's first female referee

Rebecca Welch Rebecca Welch - The Canadian Press

LONDON (AP) — The English Premier League has its first female referee and Burnley manager Vincent Kompany called it a "milestone moment" on Saturday.

Rebecca Welch controlled Burnley's 2-0 win at Fulham.

Kompany spoke to Welch at fulltime.

“I wanted to congratulate her because it's a big moment,” he said. "It's fair to say that it's a milestone moment and may there be more, and the best thing will always be when someone is judged on merit.

“But you have to have a first and this is it, so well done (to her) and I'm happy to be part of this moment.”

Welch was applauded by spectators as she emerged from the tunnel at Craven Cottage.

She previously made history when she refereed an FA Cup fixture in 2022 and a second-tier Championship match in 2021. Welch has already worked as a fourth official in the Premier League in November.

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


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