Rebecca Welch: female referee in the English Football League

Rebecca Welch recently made her debut in the English Football League as referee. In a recent webinar from the Referees Association she talked about her career, from which I distilled some very useful tips for us referees. Loving her job is crucial. “If you want to do it, give it a 100%. But you also got to enjoy it.”

Check out below the things I learned from Rebecca Welch’s webinar for the Referees’ Association. You can also become a member and get access to the full webinar and many more (online) events. Become a member.

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The importance of a referee community

The importance of a referee community should not be underestimated. Carol Anne Chenard stresses the importance of a good referee community. Having fellow refs around you gives you great opportunities to develop. In this article she talks about their benefits and how it will motivate and challenge you as a referee. “It will make you a better referee.”

You can also read the big interview with Carol Anne Chenard about her recovery and competititve attitude on my blog.

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Laws of the Game changes 2021-2022

Laws of the Game changes 2021-2022: the first updates from The IFAB meeting of March 5th appeared on their website. Update: below the links to changes in 4 different languages are added.

The main topic was the handball rule and all members “confirmed that not every touch of a player’s hand/arm with the ball is an offence”. Plus more about concussion substitutes

Firstly a personal thought on the arm being in natural position., I hope that The IFAB will add examples what normal movement of the arm is. if you ask me: the arms will be further from the body when jumping in the air, but I’m really curious what is natural for you in which position. Please share your feedback.

IFAB links to different langues

Photo by IFAB published with LOTG change announcement

Main topics in the changes

  • New Laws of the Game will be applied from July 1st, normally June 1st. Football associations are allowed to start earlier than July 1st.
  • Concussion substitutes: trials are prolonged until August 2022. The idea is that a team receives an extra substitute option if a player has to leave the field of play because of their own safety. More info at IFAB.
  • Temporary amendment of Law 3 on the number of substitutes due to covid keeps in place. Football associations can allow 5 substitutes instead of the “normal” 3. More on this amendment.

Changes to the handball rules

The text below comes from the website of IFAB.

As the interpretation of handball incidents has not always been consistent due to incorrect applications of the Law, the members confirmed that not every touch of a player’s hand/arm with the ball is an offence. In terms of the criterion of the hand/arm making a player’s body “unnaturally bigger”, it was confirmed that referees should continue to use their judgment in determining the validity of the hand/arm’s position in relation to the player’s movement in that specific situation.

Following this clarification, it is a handball offence if a player:

  • deliberately touches the ball with their hand/arm, for example moving the hand/arm towards the ball;
  • touches the ball with their hand/arm when it has made their body unnaturally bigger. A player is considered to have made their body unnaturally bigger when the position of their hand/arm is not a consequence of, or justifiable by, the player’s body movement for that specific situation. By having their hand/arm in such a position, the player takes a risk of their hand/arm being hit by the ball and being penalised; or
  • scores in the opponents’ goal:
    • directly from their hand/arm, even if accidental, including by the goalkeeper; or
    • immediately after the ball has touched their hand/arm, even if accidental.

Accidental handball that leads to a team-mate scoring a goal or having a goal-scoring opportunity will no longer be considered an offence.

Your thoughts on the changes

I really love to year your thoughts on the changes and your suggestions to improve the game. Please comment or send an email to

Carol Anne Chenard: great lessons from Canadian top referee

Carol Anne Chenard is doing really well, she says in an interview with Dutch Referee Blog. In 2019 she suddenly had to withdraw from the Women’s World Cup due to breast cancer. She’s not active on the field any more, but wants to stay involved in the game as video referee or instructor. In this interview she shares some valuable lessons for you as a referee about her competitive attitude, working on your progress and how to manage your time between personal and refereeing life. 

Carol Anne Chenard, Source: FIFA TV.
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