Two teenagers, both aged 17, have been arrested following allegations of misogynistic chanting directed at referee Rebecca Welch during a Birmingham City, England football match on Saturday. Despite Birmingham City’s prior appeal to fans to avoid offensive behavior towards the female referee, the incident still occurred, leading to the arrests by West Midlands Police.
“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),” a statement from West Midlands Police read.
“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 offense as we carry out inquiries.”
“We don’t tolerate any form of hate and it is important hate crime is reported to us,” it added.
“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 behavior and culture that leads to abuse and violence against women and girls.”
Daily Mail reported:
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 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.
BREAKING: West Midlands Police say they have arrested two boys for misogynistic chanting at the female referee during Birmingham City’s home game against Sheffield Wednesday at St Andrew’s. pic.twitter.com/3Q6Cw9fCrd
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 25, 2023