LONDON: World Cup referee Howard Webb has retired after being appointed technical director of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL). In taking up the newly created position Howard brings to an end his distinguished 25 year refereeing career.
Webb, 25 years a referee, will be responsible for overseeing the technical direction and standards that govern the on-field performance of PGMOL’s match officials.
He will manage the PGMOL training programme and coaching system and will work extensively on the successful development programme that provides a pathway for referees from Level 3 through to the Select Group.
Additionally Webb will take a public facing role, informing and educating on refereeing matters. Webb will report to PGMOL general manager Mike Riley and joins his management team.
Webb – who refereed the 2010 World Cup Final and then two matches at the finals in Brazil, said: “I am very excited to start this new chapter in my career after a wonderfully rewarding 25 years on the pitch.
“I have spent over a decade with the best seat in the house for Barclays Premier League matches, been lucky enough to be involved in nine major international tournaments, and taken charge of the UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup Finals.
“Refereeing has given me so much and I think it’s important that match officials who have had the rewards remain in the game to pass on their knowledge.
“I also have much more to learn about the business of refereeing and I believe the best place for me to do that is with PGMOL. It’s an incredibly positive working environment and we all have a common goal of improving refereeing.
“Over the last five years in particular we have made huge strides in terms of our accuracy, fitness and professionalism. The current Select Group are the best referees this country has ever produced and I am thrilled that I not only get the chance to continue working with them but also the opportunity to help develop the next generation of Select Group officials.”
Riley said: “Howard has been the foremost referee of his generation and an inspiration for match officials in this country and around the world.
“While we will no longer see Howard’s commanding presence on the domestic and international stage, we have an excellent mix of experienced officials and some terrifically talented younger referees in our 17-strong Select Group. We are very excited that Howard’s knowledge and skills are being retained and shared for them and the rest of PGMOL’s officials.
“The role of PGMOL Technical Director will strengthen refereeing in this country. The game in England does not stand still: clubs are always innovating and looking to improve, and that’s what we are about at PGMOL too. Last season we trebled the funding for referee coaching and training and we will continue to invest in match officials from the Premier League down to the contributory leagues.
“We want to accelerate the development of referees from the semi-professional game so that we have an even stronger talent pool to pick from at Select Group level. There is no one better to lead on that than Howard Webb.”