Rebecca Welch will soon make history as she is set to become the first female referee for a Premier League fixture.

She officiates Fulham's match against Burnley on 23 December.

Welch, 40, from Washington in the northeast began refereeing in 2010, and in January became the first woman to referee a men's Championship game.

Welch, who was born on December 1, 1983, played football from childhood but only took up the whistle at the age of 27 having been challenged to do so by a friend.

“I played football and didn’t even think about refereeing until one of my really good friends, who is a referee, refereed us,” she said in an interview. “I spent the whole game telling her how to do her job!

“Her response was, ‘If you think it’s that easy, give it a go’. That’s how it happened and 10 years later here I am.”

Former firefighter Allison, who has previously spoken about encouraging more officials from under-represented backgrounds, was promoted to the Football League in 2020 and was moved up to the Championship earlier this year.

Welch has also refereed in the Championship this year, as well as taking charge of Women's Super League and Women's Champions League matches and refereeing at the Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in the summer.

Rebecca Welch made history earlier this year when she became the first woman to be appointed to referee a game in the English Football League.

She was the first woman to take charge of an FA Cup third-round tie in 2022 after being added to the EFL's national list for men's football, which oversees both League One and League Two fixtures.

Welch made history in November when she became the first woman to be involved in the Premier League in a refereeing capacity, taking up the role of fourth official when Manchester United beat Fulham 1-0 at Craven Cottage.

Premier League's first black referee in 15 years

Sam Allison will also take charge of a top-flight match in December, making him the Premier League's first black referee in 15 years according to the BBC.

He will oversee Sheffield United's match against Fulham on 26 December.

Uriah Rennie - the league's last black referee - retired from officiating in English football's top four divisions in 2009. The EFL's last non-white referee - Jarnail Singh - retired in 2010.

In July, the Football Association laid out plans to recruit 50% more referees from "historically under-represented" backgrounds by 2026, targeting an increase of 1,000 women referees and 1,000 black or Asian referees at all levels of football in three years.

Currently, 8% of officials are of black or Asian ethnicity, but only 3% in professional football. No black or Asian referee has taken charge of a Premier League game since Rennie's final match in 2008.