Two teens arrested for alleged misogynistic chants at Birmingham match

Two teenage boys are arrested for alleged misogynistic chanting aimed at referee Rebecca Welch during Birmingham City’s match against Sheffield Wednesday

  • West Midlands Police arrested two teenagers for an alleged public order offence 
  • Mail Sport started an agenda-setting Stop Abusing Referees campaign this week
  • Have you witnessed abuse of referees? Contact [email protected] 

Two 17-year-old boys have been arrested for alleged misogynistic chanting towards referee Rebecca Welch during Birmingham City’s match on Saturday.

Prior to Saturday’s match, Birmingham City put out a statement pleading with supporters to refrain from offensive chanting directed at the female referee, following issues on her last visit to the stadium.

However, West Midlands Police have now arrested two teenagers on suspicion of a public order offence. Enquiries are ongoing.  

A police spokesperson told Birmingham Live: ‘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.’

Alleged misogynistic abuse aimed at Rebecca Welch has reportedly led to two fans’ arrests

Mail Sport has launched a campaign to stop the abuse of referees at all levels of the game

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Police added that officers noted the alleged abuse and acted quickly to make two arrests. 

The pair are reported to be in custody as enquiries continue.  

The incident comes amid Mail Sport’s campaign titled ‘Stop Abusing Referees’, which seeks to shine a light on the aggressive behaviour officials face. 

This was the exact type of story Birmingham City looked to avoid following their proactive statement before the game. 

‘Unfortunately, when she last refereed at St. Andrew’s, the Club received several reports of sexist and misogynistic abuse aimed at the official,’ Birmingham City wrote pre-match.

‘This will not be tolerated and any individual reported for such behaviour will be asked to leave their seat by stewards. 

Welch took charge of Saturday’s match between Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday

‘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.

‘Birmingham City has a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of discrimination and is committed to identifying, confronting and eliminating discrimination towards any group or individual based on a protected characteristic, with a number of reporting procedures available to supporters.’

Welch made history earlier this month when she was fourth official for Manchester United’s Premier League win at Fulham.

Welch, 39, became the first ever woman referee to be involved in a Premier League game. The promotion of Welch was the latest example of PGMOL advancing diversity among officials.

Born in Washington, Tyne and Wear, Welch qualified through the Durham County FA and began refereeing in Sunday leagues in Sunderland.

Welch is a trailblazing referee and has risen up the officiating ladder since breaking through

She then began her refereeing career in 2010, while also working an administrative job in the NHS. The 39-year-old went full time in 2019.

Since then, she has featured regularly in the Women’s Super League. Welch has consistently broken records as she was also the first woman to referee an EFL match when she took charge of Harrogate Town vs Port Vale in League Two in 2021.

She has had a fast rise up the officiating ladder over the past year, with Welch taking charge of Birmingham City vs Preston North End in January, becoming the first female official to referee a Championship game in the process.

‘In the last 10 years I’ve put a lot of hard work and commitment in and I’ve reaped the rewards from that by getting promoted,’ Welch said previously in an interview with the Guardian. 

‘To be given this opportunity to work in the EFL is amazing for me.’


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