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According to West Midlands Police, two teenage spectators were detained at Birmingham’s game against Sheffield Wednesday for reportedly making sexist chants directed at referee Rebecca Welch.
In January, Welch achieved a milestone by becoming the first woman to officiate a Championship match. She continued to make strides in her career as she served as the fourth official in Manchester United’s victory against Fulham in the Premier League last month.
The 39-year-old was in charge of Birmingham’s 2-1 win over Wednesday, which earned new manager Wayne Rooney his maiden victory in charge of the club, but the match was overshadowed by news of two 17-year-olds being arrested for alleged chants towards the referee.
West Midlands Police have apprehended two males for making misogynistic remarks towards the female referee during today’s Birmingham City home game at St Andrew’s.
“Our officers promptly arrested the two individuals, both 17 years old, after hearing the chants directed at the official.”
The individuals are presently being held in custody on suspicion of committing a public order offense while we conduct our investigations. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards all types of hate, and it is crucial that any hate crimes are reported to us.
Today marks the beginning of a 16-day campaign known as White Ribbon Day. The campaign centers on educating everyone, particularly men and boys, about ways to combat the behaviors and attitudes that contribute to mistreatment and aggression towards women and girls.
On Friday, Birmingham cautioned their fans about their conduct towards the referees during matches.
Prior to the Sheffield Wednesday game, it was noted that Welch had been subjected to “sexist and misogynistic” taunts during her previous match at St Andrew’s against Preston. The club also reminded fans that discriminatory or hateful speech could result in a five-year ban.
“BCFC.com released a statement before Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship game against Sheffield Wednesday, reminding fans to treat the match officials with respect,” a statement from Birmingham said.
The Football Club is extremely disappointed that two fans were caught by West Midlands Police making offensive chants towards the referee during today’s game. They are currently in custody for potentially violating public order laws.
Birmingham City firmly denounces any type of discrimination and will assist the police in their investigations.
More information gathered by PA Media.