The 40-year-old referee kicked off the game on Saturday afternoon at Craven Cottage, a stadium where she had previously served as fourth official in November during Fulham’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester United. which was also a first.

Welch follows in the footsteps of Frenchwoman Stéphanie Frappart, now a referee in Ligue 1 after having crossed several barriers, particularly at the international level, in the world of men’s football. In 2021, the Englishwoman had already written a piece of history by becoming the first woman to referee a professional match in the kingdom, a League Two (4th division) match between Port Vale and Harrogate.

She has since refereed matches in the Championship (2nd Div.) and the FA Cup, more precisely a third round match in January 2022 between Birmingham City and Plymouth Argyle.

A referee since 2010, she continued to work until 2019 for the National Health Service (NHS), the British health system, before focusing on her whistle career. This familiar face from the Women’s Super League, the English women’s championship, also officiated during the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

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