LONDON: Rebecca Welch will become the first woman to act as fourth referee in the Premier League when Fulham host Manchester United on Saturday.

Welch, the first woman to officiate a Championship match last January, took charge of three matches in the last Women’s World Cup, including one in the round of 16, in addition to having refereed two Women’s English Cup finals in 2017 and 2020.

The 39-year-old was also the first woman to referee a professional men’s football match in 2021, in a duel between Port Vale and Harrogate Town in League Two (English Fourth Division).

Three women have run the line in the Premier League – Wendy Toms, who led the way in 1997, Sian Massey-Ellis and Natalie Aspinall.