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Female ref now targets Premier League after Football League debut

Amy Fearn has ambitions on the Premier League after becoming the first woman to referee in the Football League at Coventry on Tuesday. With 20 minutes remaining in the game between the Sky Blues and Nottingham Forest at the Ricoh Arena, incumbent Tony Bates was forced off with a leg injury.

Fearn told the Football League's official website: "It would be nice to referee in the Premier League one day but obviously the competition is harder.

"My next promotion target is running the line in that division but I started out as a ref and that is what I love doing - I want to continue being a referee.

"I understand there was a big reaction from the crowd but I don't remember it at the time.

"I'm glad there was nothing controversial in that 20 minutes - football should be about the players, not the officials."

Fearn has been refereeing since the age of 16 and is currently in charge of three Conference games a month and running the line for the same number of League games.

Of Tuesday's match, she added: "It was great - I could get used to that every week.

"I always have a laugh before the game with the referee, saying 'go on - give me 10 minutes'.

"Then on 70 minutes I saw the referee on the floor and I wasn't sure if he'd tripped over but it became obvious that it was serious.

"He called the fourth official to tell him to start the warm-up and it was then that it dawned on me what was happening.

"It felt very surreal and then started sinking in.

"The game stepped up a level when I entered the pitch. Going from the line to the middle is very different.

"It is the same as a player substitution. There is an extra stimulus in the game and, with 20 minutes to go, Forest were desperate for a goal."

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