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Teenagers arrested for ‘misogynistic abuse’ of referee Rebecca Welch

Admin By Admin Nov26,2023

Two football fans have been arrested for alleged misogynistic chanting at referee Rebecca Welch during Birmingham’s home match with Sheffield Wednesday.

Birmingham won the Championship fixture 2-1 – Wayne Rooney’s maiden victory as manager of the club – but it was overshadowed by news of the arrests.

“We have arrested two boys for misogynistic chanting at the female referee during Birmingham City’s home game at St Andrew’s today,” 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 offence as we carry out enquiries. 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.”

Welch made history in January when she became the first woman to officiate a Championship match after she took charge of Birmingham’s clash with Preston.

The club had warned supporters on Friday about their behaviour towards match officials.

A statement sent out before the Sheffield Wednesday fixture highlighted how Welch faced “sexist and misogynistic” chants during the match against Preston.

“The Sky Bet Championship match on Saturday 25 November, kick-off 3pm, will be officiated by Rebecca Welch. Unfortunately, when she last refereed at St Andrew’s, the club received several reports of sexist and misogynistic abuse aimed at the official,” Birmingham said.

“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.”

After the match, a statement from Birmingham read: “Prior to Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship fixture with Sheffield Wednesday, a statement was issued on encouraging supporters to be respectful towards the match officials.

“The football club are, therefore, deeply disappointed that two supporters were overheard by West Midlands Police officers engaging in misogynistic chanting towards Saturday’s referee and are currently in custody on suspicion of a public order offence.

“Birmingham City strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and will support the police with their enquiries.”

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