Referee: REBECCA WELCH
Assistant: James Wilson and Robert Merchant
Fourth Official: Jacob Miles
History will be made this weekend at the Bank when a female official will take charge for the first time in an EFL match.
We have already had Welch for a game, last season’s humbling at Posh, after which there were issues with some supporters expressing misogyny in the stands. I sincerely hope that will not be the case this weekend – Welch is an official, open to critique and criticism, but none of that should be based on her gender.
She was also originally listed as taking charge of our 2-1 defeat against Fleetwood last season, but instead, we got Declan Bourne, which I’m not sure was an entirely fair swap.
Welch is an official who does not flash cards without reason – since debuting in the National League in 2018, she’s only sent off three players, and twice that red came in the 90th minute of the game. Only once has she dismissed a player after joining the EFL list – George Friend of Birmingham in an FA Cup tie. She is yet to dismiss a player during a Football League game.
She’s was also quite tight when it comes to yellow cards last season, which isn’t a bad thing. This season, in only two matches, she has shown ten, six of those in Derby’s 1-1 draw with Pompey, in which she also awarded the home side a penalty. It’s fair to say League One games don’t get much bigger than that!
Welch is also one of the few World Cup referees we’ll get at the Bank – she had three matches in the women’s World Cup this summer: Colombia versus Korea, Portugal versus USA and Australia against Denmark.