Rebecca Welch is making history this weekend as the first woman to be appointed to the role of fourth official for a Premier League match.
The referee will oversee Fulham vs Manchester United on the touchline at 8:30am ET Saturday as the Cottagers and Red Devils kick off the Premier League weekend from West London.
The 39-year-old from Northeast England began her officiating career in 2010 and, according to premierleague.com, is “a former NHS administrator who studied to be a referee with Durham County FA. Welch was the first woman to be appointed to take charge of an EFL match when League Two side Port Vale played Harrogate in April 2021.”
[ MORE: Premier League predictions for Week 11 ]
She was the first female referee to oversee an FA Cup third round tie when she took the reins for Birmingham City vs Plymouth Argyle in 2021-22.
Sian Massey-Ellis — who will be assistant VAR for the match — has handled fourth official duties before, but that happened due to a change inside a match. Welch is the first to be appointed to the gig, and is also the fourth woman to be part of the team of officials for a Premier League match, following on from assistant referees Wendy Toms, Natalie Aspinall, and Massey-Ellis.
While no one wants an injury, it’s important to note that Welch would be in-line for more history should head referee John Brooks be unable to fulfill his duties.