Premier League appoints third woman in top-flight history to be an assistant referee 4 weeks ago

Premier League appoints third woman in top-flight history to be an assistant referee

She was a regular in the Championship last season

Natalie Aspinall has become just the third woman in Premier League history to be appointed as an assistant referee, with the official beginning the role in the top-flight from next season.

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The 40-year-old, who officiated in the Championship and women’s Super League last season, has been a FIFA-listed assistant in the women's game since 2007, and recently officiated several women’s World Cup qualifiers.

Now, Aspinall will officiate in the Premier League after the Professional Game Match Officials - joint owned by the Premier League, Football League and Football Association - look to change the profile of referees and assistants who will replace the officials retiring.

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Experienced referees Mike Dean, Jon Moss and Martin Atkinson all retired at the end of the season, with the latter two now working for the PGMOL as a select group 1 manager and coach respectively.

Aspinall follows in the footsteps of Sian Massey-Ellis

In the 1990s, Wendy Toms became the first woman to work as an assistant in the Premier League. Sian Massey-Ellis followed in her footsteps in 2010. While Massey-Ellis officiated in the Premier League in the 2020/21 season, she did not have an appointment for the 2021/22 campaign. As reported by the Telegraph, PGMOL has said in the past that she has been injured.

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As well as Aspinall, the PGMOL managing director Mike Riley has promoted referee Tim Bramall and assistants Nick Greenhalgh and Steve Meredith into the select group 1 of officials.

Riley said: "Natalie, Nick and Steve are experienced assistant referees and have earned their place at this level. Natalie, who is a fantastic ambassador for English refereeing on the international stage, is the third female assistant referee to operate in the Premier League and will work alongside her now select group 1 colleague Sian Massey-Ellis."

The Telegraph recently reported that Riley is under pressure, with a number of clubs frustrated at the standard of refereeing this season and the use of VAR. Howard Webb is being touted with a return to England to a senior management role in PGMOL.

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