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Historic Christmas in the Premier League: 1st woman and 1st black referee in 15 years take center stage

Rebecca Welch and Sam Allison are set to make history in the Premier League this coming Christmas. Welch will be the first woman referee, and Allison the first black official in 15 years. PGMOL announced their appointments for top-flight matches in December. Welch will referee the Fulham vs. Burnley match on December 23, while Allison takes charge of Sheffield United vs. Luton Town on Boxing Day, following in Uriah Rennie’s footsteps.

These appointments are notable as Welch and Allison are the fourth and fifth referees from PGMOL’s Select Group 2 to officiate Premier League games this season. Howard Webb, PGMOL’s chief operating officer, expressed excitement about their inclusion in the PGMOL Development Group and the Elite Referee Development Plan.

Rebecca Welch, from Washington in Tyne and Wear, previously refereed in the Women’s Super League and became the first woman to officiate in Championship and FA Cup third-round matches. Sam Allison, with a playing background in clubs like Swindon Town and Exeter City, officiated over 100 matches in the EFL before his Premier League debut.

These appointments break barriers and serve as inspiring examples, not only marking a milestone but also encouraging underrepresented groups to consider careers in Premier League officiating. The significance lies in their potential to inspire others to pursue opportunities in refereeing.