The FA

Wembley call for Welch

Referee Rebecca Welch will take charge of SSE Women's FA Cup Final

Thursday 27 Apr 2017

Appearing in a Wembley Final is often the highlight of any player’s career – and Rebecca Welch says it is no different for a referee.

The Durham FA official will take charge of the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final between Birmingham City and Manchester City on Saturday 13 May, alongside assistant referees Helen Byrne (Liverpool FA) and Abigail Marriott (Suffolk FA) and fourth official Helen Conley (Durham FA).

Welch said: “It is an honour and a shock.

Birmingham v Man City
  • SSE Women's FA Cup Final
  • 5.15pm, Saturday 13 May 2017
  • Wembley Stadium connected by EE
  • Tickets priced £15 adults, kids go free
“It's the call every referee wants to get, but it's one you don't think you ever will get.

“I'm not really an emotional person, but when I found out I could feel myself filling up. I’ve been on cloud nine ever since.

“I was actually a bit angry that I didn’t get appointed to one of the semi-finals – but now I know why that would have been!

“But it is absolutely going to be the highlight of my career.”

 

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Welch has officiated on three Women’s FA Cup Finals in the past, including the first one to be staged under the arch, in 2015, although this will be her first time with the whistle.

But she does have experience of taking charge of showpiece events; Welch was referee when Manchester City edged Birmingham in last year’s FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup Final.

She explained: “I've been lucky enough to have been involved in The FA Cup Final before but never as the referee.

“I always wanted to be involved in the Final as a ref. It's what I do, it's what I love. I'll have a great team around me so hopefully we all have a good game.

“This is a massive occasion for everyone to be involved in, players and officials, especially with the women's game getting bigger and better every year.

“It's the biggest one-off game of the season in both the men's and women's game.”

Welch continued: “I'll try and prepare for this game as I would any other. That's the plan anyway, but with it being at Wembley maybe the nerves will kick in a little bit.”

David Elleray, chairman of The FA referees' committee, added: “Once again the strength of the women’s game is reflected in the appointment of a team of four female officials for the top domestic match in the women’s calendar.

“Rebecca and her colleagues have the skills, expertise and experience to enhance what should be an entertaining and enjoyable Final.

“The FA Referees' Committee was unanimous in its decision to appoint all four of them.”

Children can attend the Final for free thanks to The FA’s partnership with SSE.

Adult tickets are priced £15 and group booking and Charter Standard discounts apply.

Tickets can be bought via TheFA.com/Tickets or by calling 0844 826 2010.

By Glenn Lavery