Washington referee Rebecca Welch first woman appointed to referee men's Championship game
Rebecca Welch is set to make history as the first female referee to be appointed to a Championship fixture.
She is set to take charge of Birmingham vs Preston on Saturday 21 January.
The 39-year-old, from Washington, is no stranger to making history - she was the first female referee to be appointed to a Football League match in April 2021 when she took charge of the League Two clash between Harrogate and Port Vale.
She was also the first woman to referee in the third round of the men's FA Cup, officiating Birmingham against Plymouth in January 2022.
On Monday 9 January, Welch was named as one of three English female officials appointed to the 2023 Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, alongside assistant referee Natalie Aspinall and video match official Sian Massey-Ellis.
Welch is not the first woman to referee in the Championship. Amy Fearn who, in 2010, took charge of the final 20 minutes of Coventry vs Nottingham Forest in the second tier following an injury to the appointed referee Tony Bates.
However, Welch will be the first female referee to be appointed to a Championship match. If the match reaches full-time at St Andrew's on Saturday, she will be the first woman to referee a full 90 minute fixture in the division.
The former NHS worker is the highest ranking female referee in England. She was promoted to UEFA's elite women's list in December 2020.
Welch has refereed two Women's FA Cup finals in 2017 and 2020, and was one of three English officials at Euro 2022 last summer.
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