The Sunday Post (Newcastle)
Ability to do the job comes before gender
Rebecca Welch was appointed to referee the EFL clash between Harrogate Town and Port Vale last week.
By all accounts, she had an excellent 90 minutes.
Rebecca is the highest-ranking female referee, and is known to be well-regarded by her bosses, Mike Riley and Mike Jones.
I think having female referees is a natural progression, and should be welcomed by all in the game. It’s real progress, and I applaud it.
At the end of the day, it’s about a person’s ability to do a job – not what their gender is.
Rebecca has said that she has been inspired by Sian Massey-Ellis.
Sian has been an assistant referee for many years in England, and operates at the highest level in the game.
We haven’t yet had a female referee taking charge of a senior game in Scotland.
But that day might come sooner than many think.
At every level of football, and in society, we all have to keep an open mind on it.
Referees are always in the headlines, and as much as how they perform in the pitch, it’s also about the ability to cope with outside pressure and any negativity.
Brian Rice let rip last weekend, and said that his club, Hamilton Accies, were not given a fair crack of the whip by Scottish officials.
Brian is normally very controlled in what he says, but he clearly felt aggrieved, and aired his views after Accies lost to St Mirren in their Scottish Cup tie.
Everybody in football, at some stage during their careers, will have been angry and frustrated with a match official. That’s the nature of the business.
But we have to accept that honest mistakes are being made, and there is no agenda against a club or an individual,
We must never forget that we can’t have football if we don’t have referees and assistant referees.
That’s why everyone should be encouraged to be a part of it.