Eddie Howe hails Rebecca Welch appointment as ‘great moment’ for football

Welch will referee when Fulham host Burnley on Saturday 23 December. Credit: PA

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe applauds Rebecca Welch, as she prepares to make history as the first female Premier League referee.

Welch, from Washington, will referee when Fulham host Burnley on Saturday 23 December.

Eddie Howe said: “I think it’s a great moment.

"For me, it’s got to be based on ability, not gender, ability to referee and I fully support it.”

The 40-year-old became a referee in 2010 alongside her NHS role. Now a full-time referee, Welch was the fourth official in Fulham's home game against Manchester United last month.

Kick It Out, which works to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and work for positive change within the football community, also welcomed the news of Welch’s appointments.

In a post to X, formerly known as twitter, the organisation said: “Referees up and down the land are waking up this morning and thinking there are no barriers to get to the top.

“Visibility matters. Well done to @FA_PGMOL and organisations like @BAMERef for helping to create those journeys.

"There are many more inspirational stories to be told.”

In 2021 Welch became the first woman to be appointed to referee an EFL and has since taken charge of matches at the 2022 UEFA Women’s European Championship, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and Championship matches.

Welch's career highlights also include officiating high-profile matches in the Women's Super League alongside refereeing the 2017 and 2020 Women's FA Cup finals at Wembley Stadium.

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