Rebecca Welch: Mark Clattenburg says female referee appointment to EFL game is just 'first step'
Mark Clattenburg says Rebecca Welch becoming the first female referee for an EFL game will help more women be accepted in men’s football.
Welch, the highest-ranking female referee in English football, will take charge of the League Two clash between Harrogate Town and Port Vale on Monday.
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The 37-year-old was selected after an ongoing review of her performances this season and her appointment was approved by referee chiefs Mike Riley and Mike Jones.
Former Premier League referee Clattenburg, who has refereed a number of notable, high-profile matches including the Champions League Final and Euro 2016 Final, believes it is not only a positive move for Welch personally, but also for women in football.
“It’s amazing now that we are seeing a lot more females in the men’s competition,” Clattenburg said.
“We’ve seen it with [Stephanie Frappart] who refereed the men’s Super Cup final for UEFA and recently refereed a FIFA World Cup qualifying match, so there are more and more women moving into the men’s leagues.
“Rebecca Welch is an amazing story because she didn’t start until 27 so this is very late, and to achieve what she has done in 10 years… We want to wish her the best because this is her first step.
“I remember at 25 when I first refereed a football league game and that was unheard of. To break those barriers is so important, so everybody will be watching Rebecca.
“We all want to wish her well because this is the stepping stone that can enhance and make women more accepted in the men’s game.”
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