Referee Rebecca Welch
Photo: Adam Davy / dpa
For the first time ever, a woman will referee a game in English men's professional football.
Rebecca Welch is supposed to whistle the game between Harrogate Town and Port Vale in the fourth-rate EFL League Two next Monday.
Welch headed the women's cup final in 2017.
"I was originally not really aware that I was going to be the first female referee," said the 37-year-old from the AP news agency.
“I just got the job and I was really happy.
But when you think about it, you realize, 'You're the first woman to ever do that,' so I'm extremely proud of it, and my family is extremely proud too. "
Women referees are still a rarity in men's football in England.
Sian Massey-Ellis is a line judge in the Premier League.
The very first official in the upper house of football was Wendy Toms.
Welch now sees a positive trend after all.
"It shows that there really are opportunities for young girls wondering whether they're ready to pick up the pipe or are referees," she said.
"You can work towards being a referee in the EFL or like Sian Massey-Ellis in the Premier League."
Bibiana Steinhaus made her debut in Germany in 2007 as a referee in the 2nd Bundesliga and was the first woman to lead a game in German men's professional football.
In 2017 Steinhaus was promoted to the Bundesliga, and in summer 2020 she ended her career after playing in the DFL Supercup for personal reasons.
There are currently four DFB referees on the FIFA list, and Riem Hussein has been in the 3rd division since the 2015/16 season, making him the second German referee to be active in men's professional football.
cev / dpa