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Washington born Rebecca Welch to make Premier League history

(Credit: The Independent)

Rebecca Welch will make history this weekend by becoming the first woman to referee a Premier League fixture.

It was announced Welch would officiate Fulham vs Burnley on Saturday. The 40-year-old was also the first woman to officiate an FA Cup tie in January 2022.

Welch has deep routes to the North East, she was born in Washington and studied to be a referee with the Durham County Football Association, refereeing Sunday League and women’s university matches in Sunderland.

Welch is no stranger to making strides for female officials, she was also the first woman to referee a Football League game in 2021 when she officiated a League Two fixture between Harrogate Town and Port Vale.

She was also the fourth official for Manchester United’s 1-0 win against Fulham in November, the first woman to do so in the Premier League.

(Credit: EFL)

The Premier League also announced that Sam Allison will become the first black official to referee a Premier League game in 15 years.

The 42-year-old will officiate the relegation six-pointer between Sheffield United and Luton Town on Boxing Day.

Allison, who is also a firefighter, has had quite a rapid rise in the professional refereeing game. He took charge of his first Football League games in League One and Two in 2021.

He only made his Championship debut in February 2023, When he took charge of Hull City vs Preston North End.

Allison is also a former footballer, having stints at Swindon Town, Bristol City, Bournemouth and Exeter before he fell into the top level of non-league football. It was then he decided to take up officiating, operating dual roles.

He would play on a Saturday before picking up the whistle on a Sunday for the local Sunday League games.

Howard Webb promised to make officiating more diverse in his position as PGMOL chief, and he seems to be making good on his promise.