HomeSilva welcomes 'important' Welch appointment ahead of Fulham-Burnley contest

Silva welcomes ‘important’ Welch appointment ahead of Fulham-Burnley contest

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Fulham boss Marco Silva has welcomed Rebecca Welch’s historic appointment to Saturday’s game against Burnley, expressing hope that female Premier League referees will become a common sight.

Welch will become the first woman to referee a Premier League match on Saturday when she takes charge of Fulham’s meeting with the struggling Clarets at Craven Cottage.

Welch, who has overseen two Women’s FA Cup finals, became the competition’s first female fourth official at the same ground in November, as Silva’s team were beaten 1-0 by Manchester United.

Speaking at Friday’s pre-match press conference, Silva said it was encouraging to see her breaking further ground but expressed hope that the subject will soon cease to be a talking point.

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“It is important. It should not even be a question,” Silva said. “It is a matter of quality and the ability to referee a match and for sure she has it, otherwise she’s not going to be at this level.

“For us it will be a normal situation. Of course it will be the first time so everyone has to talk about it, but when the game starts it is going to be another Premier League game, with people with good ability to be a manager, a player or a referee.

“We will not even talk about it before the match because she is the ref, like she was the fourth official some weeks ago for our game against Manchester United. It was a normal situation.

“We have to always respect all the officials and she’s going to be welcomed.”

Burnley boss Vincent Kompany also spoke positively about Welch’s appointment on Thursday, saying: “It’s certainly a benchmark and milestone.

“I think she’ll take great pride in having done it herself. There’s a lot of women who will see this as a way to achieve at the highest level.

“I am always pro any kind of extension anyway because what it does is widen the pool of talent. We need access to all the available talent, the best referees in the best league in the world.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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