Webb retires early to become Technical Director at PGMOL

Howard Webb has been appointed Technical Director of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL). In taking up the newly created position brings to an end his distinguished 25-year refereeing career. As Technical Director, Webb 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.
"I am very excited to start this new chapter in my career after a wonderfully rewarding 25 years on the pitch," Webb said. "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 UEFA and FIFA tournaments, and taken charge of the UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup finals. Refereeing has given me so much and 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 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 is pleased that PGMOL will be retaining the knowledge and skills of Webb “the foremost referee of his generation and an inspiration for match officials in this country and around the world” and these will be shared with other officials. "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 very talented younger referees in our 17-strong Select Group," Riley said. "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 the Select Group level. There is no one better to lead on that than Howard Webb.”
“Today is a special and sad day because one of the best referees in the world has brought his career to a close. Howard Webb was always serious and prepared for every game in a very professional way”, said Massimo Busacca, FIFA Head of Refereeing. “Without passion and natural quality you can not reach the highest level. Howard was always a great example for every young referee. I am sure he will be able to transmit his knowledge and experience to many referees in England and around the world in his new role. My advice to him? Be like you were on the pitch.”
Speaking to FIFA ahead of the latest World Cup, Webb cast his mind back to the game in Soccer City between Spain and the Netherlands four years earlier. “It was a great honour to be there. It was fantastic. That final completely changed my life. I remember walking towards the pitch, picking up the golden Jabulani ball and going past the World Cup Trophy. It was the shiniest piece of metal I’ve ever seen in my life: a golden statue with a globe on top and a green base. It’s incredible.”

Webb began refereeing in 1989 and progressed through the Northern Counties and Football League to become a Select Group referee in 2003. He has refereed more than 500 Barclays Premier League and Football League matches and officiated in every major domestic final. A FIFA Elite referee Howard has officiated in eight international tournaments, including two FIFA World Cups and two UEFA European Championships. In 2010 Webb became the first referee to take charge of the UEFA Champions League Final and the FIFA World Cup Final in the same year. In 2011 he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to football.

Source: FIFA / Premier League