Teenage football fans arrested for ‘misogynistic chanting’ at female EFL referee

A pair of teenage football fans have been arrested for allegedly aiming misogynistic chants at a female referee.

Two 17-year-old boys were taken into custody after the alleged chants were directed at Rebecca Welch during Birmingham City’s Championship game against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday (November 25). The police are said to have acted quickly after hearing the chants during the game, which Birmingham won 2-1.

A police spokesperson said: "We have arrested two boys for misogynistic chanting at the female referee during Birmingham City’s home game at St Andrew’s today (Nov 25). Our officers heard the chants being directed at the official and acted quickly to arrest the two, who are both 17. They are currently in custody on suspicion of a public order offence as we carry out enquiries.

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"We don’t tolerate any form of hate and it is important hate crime is reported to us. Today is White Ribbon Day which is the start of a 16-day long campaign. It focuses on everyone, especially men and boys on what they can do to change the behaviour and culture that leads to abuse and violence against women and girls."

Prior to the game, Birmingham had warned that such abuse of Welch would not be tolerated by the club. Welch became the first woman to referee a men’s Championship match when she oversaw Birmingham vs Preston in January this year.

"Unfortunately, when she last refereed at St. Andrew's, the Club received several reports of sexist and misogynistic abuse aimed at the official," said the club in a pre-match plea.

"This will not be tolerated and any individual reported for such behaviour will be asked to leave their seat by stewards. Furthermore, in accordance with the Club's behaviour matrix, foul and abusive language carries a potential ban of up to four matches, with discriminatory and hate speech being punishable with a maximum ban of five years."

It added: "The Club recognises that the vast majority of Bluenoses behave in an exemplary manner, however, there is a small minority who let the rest down.”

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