At a second division game in England: 17-year-old fans arrested after misogynistic chants

In a second division game in England
17-year-old fan arrested after misogynistic chants

Rebecca Welch is one of England’s best referees, refereeing at the European and World Women’s Championships. It is also used in men’s football – and is repeatedly the target of misogynistic statements. The police then arrested two 17-year-olds.

Two young people have been arrested for misogynistic chants in the English second football league. The two had denigrated referee Rebecca Welch in the game between Birmingham City, coached by Wayne Rooney, against Sheffield Wednesday with former DFB assistant coach Danny Röhl. Birmingham won 2-1, making it their first win under Rooney.

West Midlands Police said two 17-year-olds were arrested for a public order offence. Birmingham had warned their fans against such behavior before Saturday’s game. Welch, 39, had already been subjected to sexist chants at a previous game at Birmingham’s St Andrew’s Stadium in January. “We do not tolerate any form of hate and it is important that hate crimes are reported to us,” the police said in a statement.

Welch was the first woman to referee a men’s championship game in England, the match between Birmingham and Preston North End. After being confronted with “sexist and misogynistic” chants during that game, Birmingham released a statement on Friday saying a repeat of this behavior would “not be tolerated” during the game against Sheffield. The association added that anyone guilty of “discriminatory and hateful statements” could face a ban of up to five years.

Welch has been one of the best referees in England for years, including refereeing the Women’s FA Cup final between Everton FC and Manchester City in 2020. In January 2022, she was also the first woman to referee a game in the FA Cup – also involving Birmingham City, who lost to Plymouth Argyle after extra time. Welch was used three times at the Women’s European Championship in summer 2022, including in the DFB team’s 2-0 win against Austria in the quarter-finals. This year she led two preliminary round games and a round of 16 at the World Cup.

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