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Welch to become first woman referee in FA Cup third round

Rebecca Welch is set to become the first woman referee to take charge of a men’s FA Cup third-round tie.

Welch will take charge of Birmingham City’s home tie against Plymouth Argyle, which will be played at St Andrew’s on January 8, as the first woman to referee at that stage of the competition.

She became the first female referee to be appointed to an English Football League match earlier this year.

Welch has refereed men’s matches in the National League plus elite women’s games including the 2017 FA Cup final.

Rebecca Welch is set to make history as the first female referee to take charge of an @EmiratesFACup 3rd round match.

Rebecca will be in the middle for the tie between Birmingham City and Plymouth Argyle on Saturday 8th January 2022.

Congratulations, Rebecca! 👏 #Aspire2Ref

— PGMOL (@FA_PGMOL) December 29, 2021

Rebecca Welch became the first woman ever to referee a game in the EFL on Easter Monday

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Welch became the first woman ever to referee a game in the EFL on Easter Monday this year

In April, she took charge of Harrogate’s 2-0 Sky Bet League Two defeat at home to Port Vale and in the summer, she was appointed to the EFL’s National Group list for the men’s professional game.

Welch, 38, became a qualified referee in 2010 and continued her day job as an administrator in the NHS until two years’ ago.

Coventry shared St Andrew's with Birmingham before returning to the Coventry Building Society Arena ahead of the season

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Birmingham’s meeting with Plymouth in the FA Cup third round takes place at St Andrew’s on January 8

The official, who hails from Tyne and Wear, has also overseen games in the Women’s Super League and the 2020 women’s Community Shield.

In December 2020, she was added to UEFA’s elite women’s list, joining other female football officials to referee at international games, including Stephanie Frappart of France.

Amy Fearn was the first woman to referee a game in the main draw of the FA Cup when she oversaw Dover beating Corby in the first round in 2013.

The 32 third-round matches for this season’s competition will take place between January 7 and 10.