Premier League Announces First Ever Female Referee & First Black Referee In 15 Years

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

15 Dec 2023

The Premier League has announced it’s first ever female referee and the first black referee in 15 years.

Announced on Thursday via by PGMOL head Howard Webb, Rebecca Welch will become the first female referee in the Premier League when she takes charge of Fulham against Burnley on December 23.

Welch, from Washington in Tyne and Wear, became a referee in 2010 and was the first woman to referee matches in the Championship and third round of the FA Cup.

Sam Allison will also become the first black official to take charge of a match for 15 years when Sheffield United host Luton on Boxing Day.

The 42-year-old ex-firefighter was the only black match official in the top four English divisions and the first since Uriah Rennie in 2008.

BAMRef, the Black, Asian and Mixed Heritage refereeing group – set up to identify, support and champion non-white refereeing talent – said: “We welcome this appointment. It is a further step in the right direction towards refereeing reflecting society and the playing contingent within football.

“It is also the culmination of years of hard work by BAMRef members. We hope to work with Howard Webb to identify and progress more black officials to the top flight.”

Speaking on Welch and Allison’s promotions, Webb said: “I’m excited to see the appointment of Rebecca Welch to her first Premier League referee’s appointment and, on Boxing Day, we’ll see Sam Allison taking charge of his first game.

“They’re both part of the PGMOL’s development group. It’s an initiative tied into the elite referee development plan, which has been in place for a couple of years now to fast track talented officials to the pathway.

“They’re both from groups that are not traditionally represented in the Premier League officiating cohort and hopefully it might inspire other people to give it a go.”