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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 April 2006, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
First woman referee for cup final
Referee Karen Williams
Karen Williams regularly takes charge of men's matches
A football referee from Anglesey has made history by becoming the first woman to take charge of a Welsh Cup final.

Karen Williams, from Amlwch, took charge of the FAW Women's Cup Final between Cardiff City Ladies and Pwllheli Ladies at Caersws on Sunday.

The appointment to officiate came just three years after Ms Williams began refereeing.

One of her assistants at the final was Chloe Lloyd, 18, of Welshpool.

After taking up refereeing in 2003, Ms Williams regularly officiates in men's matches in the Anglesey, Caernarfon and the Gwynedd football leagues.

This is hopefully a milestone for women referees in Wales
John Deakin, FAW

She also officiates regularly as an assistant referee in the higher-level Welsh Alliance and Cymru Alliance leagues.

Speaking before the women's final, Ms Williams said: "I'm really looking forward to it.

"I'm sure it will be a really good atmosphere down there and a good game as well.

"I've been refereeing the men's and the women's (matches) and been doing some of the rounds up to final but it was still a shock. I wasn't expecting it."

'Developing rapidly'

Ms Williams added that she hoped she would be an inspiration for other women involved in Welsh football.

She said: "I'd like to think there are women out there involved in football in one way or another with their family or maybe they play football and they see me there and think 'if she can do it then so can I'."

The Football Association of Wales's head of competitions, John Deakin, said he hoped Ms Williams' appointment to the cup final would lead to women referees taking part in more high-level matches in Wales in the future.

He said: "This is hopefully a milestone for women referees in Wales.

"Women's and girls' football is developing rapidly throughout Wales and the association is desperately keen to recruit female referees of all ages.

"I look forward to the day when we have women officiating on the Welsh Premier League."

Former referee Clive Thomas, who officiated at the 1978 World Cup finals, said he believed world football's governing body, Fifa, was looking to introduce more women referees at the top level.

Mr Thomas, of Porthcawl, south Wales, said: "I have no doubt that Fifa are looking for them very seriously.

"They will be wanting to see ladies in World Cup matches and I can certainly see that in the next few World Cups."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
"I'm really apprehensive but really looking forward to it"



SEE ALSO:
Referee role for mother and twins
30 Oct 04 |  North East Wales
Move to get female refs 'on side'
24 Sep 01 |  Scotland


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