Female referee makes football history
Referee Amy Fearn has set her sights on the Premier League after becoming the first woman to take charge of a Football League match.
Fearn, 31, made history with a 20-minute cameo appearance during Coventry City’s 1-0 win over Championship rivals Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.
She replaced Tony Bates in the 71st minute after he limped off injured. “It would be nice to referee in the Premier League one day but obviously the competition is harder,” she said.
Fearn told football-league.co.uk: “My next promotion target is running the line in that division but I started out as a ref and that is what I love doing. I want to continue being a referee.”
Fearn has been running the lines in the Football League and refereeing in the Football Conference for almost seven years.
She began refereeing aged 16 and described walking on to the middle of the pitch on Tuesday night as “very surreal”.
“The decision is made before the game which official will replace the referee in the event of him coming off, so even though I wasn’t the fourth official, I was the most senior so it fell to me to replace Tony,” added Fearn, who referees on average three Football Conference matches a month.
“The game stepped up a level when I entered the pitch. Going from the line to the middle is very different.
“It is the same as a player substitution, there is an extra stimulus in the game and with 20 minutes to go, Forest were desperate to get a goal.”
Fearn added that she was hopeful her appearance at the Ricoh Arena would boost women’s involvement in football. “It can only be a good thing for encouraging more women into the game,” stated Fearn.
“There is a great relationship between male and female officials. When the referee came off he told me to stay calm and do my best and it would be great to see more women come into the game.
“I understand there was a big reaction from the crowd but I don’t remember it at the time.
“I’m glad there was nothing controversial in that 20 minutes, football should be about the players not the officials.”
From BBC Sport