|Full name||Amy Elizabeth Fearn|
20 November 1977 |
|2005–||Football League||Assistant Referee|
Amy Elizabeth Fearn (born Amy Elizabeth Rayner 20 November 1977) is an English football referee from Loughborough, Leicestershire, who in 2010 became the first woman to referee in The Football League. With a degree in economics and a full-time career in accountancy, having also refereed football since age 14, she became only the second woman after Wendy Toms to rise to the position of assistant referee in English professional football. On 9 February 2010 she became the first woman to act as the main referee in a Football League match.
She grew up in Staffordshire, where, as a girl, she expressed a desire to play football with her brother. However, she grew frustrated at the lack of opportunities to play because no girls' football facilities were available at the time. When she was 13, her father went on a course to gain a qualification as a referee, something which inspired Rayner to do the same. She qualified just after her 14th birthday. Being under 16 meant she could only referee those at under 12 level, something which she did for two years. When she became 16, the restriction was lifted, and she began refereeing in the Midland Football Alliance before being promoted to the Football Conference, aged 26. Around this time, she was given responsibilities as an assistant referee, also being appointed to the FIFA assistants' list in 2005. She balances her football officiating duties with a full-time job as a Management Accountant for Santander in Leicester. In 2006, aged 28, she expressed a desire to move up to the Football League.
On 9 February 2010 Fearn became the first woman to take full control of a Football League match as the match referee. The original referee Tony Bates suffered a calf strain, and Fearn, as senior assistant on the day took over for the last 20 minutes of Coventry's 1-0 Championship win over Nottingham Forest at the Ricoh Arena.
In November 2006, Luton Town manager Mike Newell made controversial comments about Rayner, who was the assistant in their game against Queens Park Rangers, which Luton lost 3-2. Angry with the official's decision not to award Luton a penalty, Newell said "She shouldn't be here. I know that sounds sexist but I am sexist. This is not park football, so what are women doing here?". The FA promised to investigate, with Neale Barry saying "English football needs more Amy Rayners". Newell later apologised, saying, "My apology to Amy Rayner, and to anyone I've offended, is unreserved. I was out of order and she has accepted it". Newell was fined a total of £6,500 and given a warning by his club.
- "Football Officials - Referees". FIFA.com. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
- Published: 9:37AM GMT 10 Feb 2010 (10 February 2010). "Amy Fearn first woman to referee Championship match". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 10 February 2010.[dead link]
- Interview, including her "day job": Daily Mail website.
- AMY RAYNER: "IT'S A GREAT WAY TO TAKE PART IN A GREAT SPORT" - The Official Football League website.
- Appointment as FIFA assistant, 2005: Staffordshire County Senior League website information page.
- "First female referee takes charge". Championship. Yahoo! Eurosport. Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- "First English football referee". Straitstimes.com. Archived from the original on 15 February 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- Luton Town vs. QPR - soccerbase.com website.
- Newell faces inquiry on 'sexism' - BBC Sport.
- Full backing for Rayner - TheFA.com website.
- Newell hopes Rayner row is over - BBC Sport.
- Newell fined over outburst against female official - Telegraph.co.uk website.