Following the official announcement by the Premier League that the top flight league would be having its first female referee as well as the first black referee in 15 years, many have shown interest in finding out the referees stepping up to take on this challenge.
Howard Webb, the chief refereeing officer at PGMOL spoke on the decision to bring these referees, Rebecca Welch and Sam Allison to the league. He revealed, “Rebecca and Sam were part of the development group that was created last year. Credit to them they have delivered good performances in the Championship this season and deserve their opportunities due to their quality and the talent that they have. Of course it’s significant in terms of Rebecca being the first female to take the whistle in the Premier League … and Sam being the first black referee in the Premier League since Uriah Rennie back in 2008. The profile of the game[s] will serve as a role model for others in under-represented communities and that is undoubtedly a positive.We need greater diversity because undoubtedly there is quality in all communities and previously for whatever reason we have not been able to bring people through from those groups and now it’s happening at last thankfully.”
Rebecca Welch is set to create history as the inaugural woman referee in a Premier League match, taking the helm for Fulham’s home game against Burnley on December 23. Following closely, Sam Allison will also make a groundbreaking entry as the first black referee in the top flight in 15 years, officiating the clash between Sheffield United and Luton at Bramall Lane three days later.
Both Welch and Allison are part of the development group of officials, a fast-tracked initiative by Professional Game Match Officials Limited aimed at enhancing refereeing standards across the four top divisions in England. This season, the duo has been actively officiating in the Championship, with Welch also assuming the role of a fourth official in the Premier League.