Pair arrested over ‘misogynistic chanting’ at female referee at Birmingham City home match

Referee Rebecca Welch, pictured in 2022. Credit: PA

Two football fans were arrested during Birmingham’s home match with Sheffield Wednesday for alleged misogynistic chanting towards referee Rebecca Welch. Birmingham won the Sky Bet Championship fixture 2-1, which earned new manager Wayne Rooney his maiden victory in charge of the club. It was overshadowed by news of two 17-year-olds being arrested for alleged chants towards Welch, who made history in January by becoming the first woman to officiate a Championship match after she took charge of Birmingham’s clash with Preston. “We have arrested two boys for misogynistic chanting at the female referee during Birmingham City’s home game at St Andrew’s today,” a statement from West Midlands Police read. “Our officers heard the chants being directed at the official and acted quickly to arrest the two, who are both 17. “They are currently in custody on suspicion of a public order offence as we carry out enquiries. We don’t tolerate any form of hate and it is important hate crime is reported to us.

The club previously warned fans that sexist and misogynistic chants aimed at Welch would not be tolerated. Credit: PA

“Today is White Ribbon Day which is the start of a 16-day long campaign. It focuses on everyone, especially men and boys on what they can do to change the behaviour and culture that leads to abuse and violence against women and girls.” Birmingham City did warn supporters on Friday about their behaviour towards match officials. A statement ahead of the Sheffield Wednesday fixture highlighted how Welch faced “sexist and misogynistic” chants during her previous match at St Andrew’s against Preston.

“This will not be tolerated and any individual reported for such behaviour will be asked to leave their seat by stewards," the club said. “Furthermore, in accordance with the club’s behaviour matrix, foul and abusive language carries a potential ban of up to four matches, with discriminatory and hate speech being punishable with a maximum ban of five years.”

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