The Offside Rule: Refereeing & Nutrition in Women’s Football

Photo: Paul Paxford

In February the new look The Offside Rule Podcast relaunched with co-founder Lynsey Hooper being joined by former England international, Tash Dowie. While it’s a new look it is the same informative discussion but this time there is less focus on the Women’s Super League as they tackle issues and talking points from up and down the women’s football pyramid and across the globe.

In the most recent episode, Lynsey and Tash are joined by referee Rebecca Welch. The former NHS administrator became a full-time professional referee in 2019. Since then she has become the first woman to officiate a League Two match, taking the same title in the Championship and the Premier League when she took charge of Fulham’s clash with Burnley in December 2023.

I feel quite passionate about the humanising of referees, increasing the understanding that they are just trying to enforce the everchanging, complex rules of the game which are put upon them.

Rebecca touches on the role’s challenges, “It’s really difficult for us because we’re judged on our last decision. You might have had what you think was a brilliant game but depending on who’s won or who’s lost, they’ll always tell you differently. But if you then make a decision in the last minute and you get it incorrect, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done for the past eighty-nine because I think everybody and you will always remember that.”

Nutritionist Caroline Tarnowski is also on hand to provide insight into the work that she has been doing with Dr Ian Rollo to develop a comprehensive guide to navigating nutrition and hydration for elite female soccer match officials.

If you listen to one podcast this week then make it this one. The episode and previous episodes are available from all good podcast providers.

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