Washington referee Rebecca Welch makes history after being promoted to EFL National Group list ahead of new season

Washington’s Rebecca Welch has made history again after becoming the first female referee to be appointed to the English Football League’s National Group list for the men’s professional game.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 4:59 pm
Rebecca Welch.
Rebecca Welch.

It means Welch will be officiating matches in the EFL next season, with the fixtures for the new campaign set to be released on Thursday.

Welch became the first woman to officiate an EFL match in April when she took charge of Harrogate’s 2-0 Sky Bet League Two defeat at home to Port Vale.

Welch’s promotion to the National Group list, alongside fellow referees Simon Mather, Andrew Kitchen and Tom Reeves, has been confirmed by the EFL.

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The EFL said: “Ahead of the start of the 2021/22 season, the Select Group 2 (SG2) and National Group Referees List has been confirmed to officiate across the Sky Bet EFL.

“Tom Bramall and John Busby will be joining the Select Group 2 pool of referees for the upcoming campaign, whilst Simon Mather, Rebecca Welch, Andrew Kitchen and Tom Reeves have earned promotion to the National Group list.”

The EFL added: “Rebecca Welch’s promotion makes her the first female referee appointee to the National Group list for the men’s professional game.”

Welch, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, made history at the age of 37 last season when she became the first woman to officiate an EFL match.

Amy Fearn was the first woman to referee an EFL game when she came on as an injury replacement in the 2010 Championship game between Coventry and Nottingham Forest. But Welch was the first to be given a game from the off.

Meanwhile, Hartlepool referee Tony Harrington has been promoted to the Premier League for the 2021-22 campaign after starring in the EFL this season.

Harrington is the grandson of Pools legend Tommy McGuigan, who is in the Hartlepool United record books for top 10 number of appearances and goals for the club.

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