Howard Webb

After the many controversies that occurred during the first half of this Premier League before the pause for the Qatar World Cup, suspicions were on the rise about the referee system in the EPL. However, it may have been rectified for now as Howard Webb is the new director refereeing for the Premier League.

He has encouraged former soccer players to become “trailblazers” by switching to a second career as a match official. This is good advice as these former players would have an abundance of experience on field as they played the games themselves. 

By expanding the skill pool and increasing diversity, Webb seeks to raise refereeing standards. Although he acknowledges that convincing those who have historically found themselves on the losing end of authorities’ judgements is not always simple, he sees former professionals as a potentially underutilised resource.

Some may disagree with his opinions, but look at Mikel Arteta, who was a footballer turned manager. He is a great example of a trailblazer as Arsenal is one of the strong potentials to win this season’s Premier League. 

“We’ve got to look at how we can entice other people in,” Webb said. “We’ve always struggled to get ex-players involved but I’m sure somebody out there will want to be a trailblazer.

“I don’t expect players who’ve been at the very highest level and have got other opportunities as well to come into it. But somebody who’s played a decent career and has got a good knowledge of the game … I think there’s an opportunity. We would welcome them wholeheartedly.”

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Webb was speaking in his new capacity as the PGMOL’s first chief refereeing officer, the organisation in charge of officiating games in the Premier League, EFL, and FA leagues. 

Continuous referee confusions make fans angry in the Premier League

Despite the ongoing criticism and rising vitriol aimed at officials, he claims that the Premier League’s recent introduction of a new elite referee development plan should influence people’s perspectives on becoming referees.

“There are ups and downs, there are negatives but they are massively outweighed by the positives,” Webb said. “Refereeing is a wonderful way to give back if you’re at a stage of life where that’s right for you.” 

Howard Webb to increase transparency in VAR decisions 

He has further stated that he is planning to increase the transparency on the referee and video assistant referee discussions by making them public to fans. This is after the whole issue of certain Premier League clubs not getting the right verdicts during the games, and once a verdict has been made, no take backs are allowed. 

Some fans are accusing Webb of being a Manchester United supporter as he had his time allegedly giving some leeway to the club. However, this accusation made by the fan is not proven on record. 

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