WEBB OF ERRORS

Howard Webb is regarded as one of the finest referees in the world. He has recently been awarded the status to referee high-profile matches like the World Cup final and the Champions league final.

However, he has proven in the recent West Brom vs Stoke City match that even he may be prone to some errors. West Brom made the trip to the Britannia stadium looking to continue the good run of form that has seen them take points off clubs like Manchester United and Arsenal in recent weeks. They could only take a point away from the Britannia stadium after the 0-0 draw.

However, this match could have easily seen a winner had it not been for the numerous misses from Stephane Sessegnon when put through in front of goal. West Brom could also easily have heard a penalty after Charlie Adam brought down Youssouf Mulumbu in the box. It was a clear penalty, but referee Webb waved away the appeal from the away side. After the match, though, Webb has seen the replays and he has accepted that it was a penalty after all. He has issued an apology for West Brom for his decision that has cost them three points and the chance to maintain their position in the top half of the table.

“The word for the penalty appeal is stonewall. How the officials missed it is beyond belief. Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t. If Youssouf wanted to con the ref he would have gone down on the first push. Charlie Adam ran down the back of his foot and took his boot off. But we also had some terrific, clear chances – at least three. Their keeper was probably man of the match which tells you about the game,” said West Brom manager Clarke after the match.

ONE OF THE BEST

Premier league referee Howard Webb is regarded as one of the best in the world. He has received several acclaims over the last few years including being the referee at the FIFA World Cup final. He has said that the respect shown by players towards referees has increased substantially over the years. Webb has been a Premier league referee for the last 10 years, and he has sent from his own personal experience that players are now respecting referees more than ever. He has also pointed out to the statistics that show a decrease in the number of yellow cards shown for dissent.

Webb, however, has acknowledged that there are occasions when emotions get the best out of a player and it is difficult to control in such a situation. The Premier league will see the introduction of goal-line technology from this season onwards. There have been several goals disputes due to the lack of this technology and the Premier league has finally accepted the inclusion. Webb has said that he is someone who welcomes technology in the game, as it would help them give out better decisions. Webb has also recalled the stamina and physical fitness required in order to become a Premier league referee.

“I’ve been involved in the Premier League for 10 years. If you look at the records for cautions for dissent, the numbers are down. Speaking from personal experience, the relations I have with players is by and large positive. Of course, football is an emotional game and sometimes emotions spill over in a way that is not acceptable, but most of the games that I am involved in pass off without that sort of incident. It’s our occupation. We have to be athletes – we have to be totally physically and mentally prepared for the challenge,” said Webb.

WEBB REFS CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Howard Webb had to go to Donetsk to referee the Champions League match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund. His plane was about to take off from the Munich runway yesterday, but, suddenly, the operators discovered that the plane has become too heavy to take off because of snowfall.

The plane couldn’t take off with that much weight. At least 10 people had to come out of the plane to make the aircraft light enough to take off. But, nobody was ready to come out of the plane.

At last, the operators announced that the passengers who would leave the plane would be given 400 Euros. A few Dortmund fans accepted the offer and came out of the plane. When they were going out, the rest of the passengers including Webb gave them a big round of applause.

Those people who left the plane stayed in Munich yesterday night. Today, they were put on a different plane to Donetsk in the morning.

Webb has to referee a very important match tonight. Both the teams are very strong and it is expected to be a very close game.

Borussia Dortmund is struggling with a few injury problems. Two of their vital players i.e. Lukasz Piszczek and Marcel Schmelzer are currently unfit. Schmelzer is not likely to get fit before the match, while, Piszczek might play after taking injections.

In its last match, Dortmund was surprisingly beaten by Hamburg SV by a big margin of 4-1. So, their confidence is not that high before this important encounter.

On the other hand, the Shakhtar team is currently on a winter break. However, they have played a few friendly matches recently and they have performed well in those matches. But, they will also be a bit nervous before such a big match.

It’s going to be an exciting clash. Both the teams are equally matched. So, neither of the two teams is favourite.

RODGERS BACKS WEBB

The manager of Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers, has said that Howard Webb is a great match referee and he is the right kind of person to handle high intensity fixtures such as Manchester United Vs Liverpool games.

The games between Manchester United and Liverpool always have a lot of controversy. These two teams are arch rivals and they just don’t want to lose when they take on each other. So, the players put in extra effort and in the process, sometimes, they lose their composure and the environment gets a bit tensed. So, if the match referee is not experienced, he finds it difficult to handle such situations.

When these two teams had played against each other in September, the match referee Mark Halsey had shown Red card to the midfielder of Liverpool, Jonjo Shelvey, and then, he had awarded penalty to United which Robin Van Persie easily converted to give United the decisive lead of 2-1. The Liverpool officials were not happy with those decisions of the match referee.

When asked about the importance of a match referee in such kinds of high intensity matches, Rodgers said, “The match referee is extremely important especially in these kinds of matches. The situations, sometimes, become awkward in the matches between arch rivals. So, the match referee must be experienced to handle those kinds of situations.”

“I am very happy that Howard Webb has been appointed as the match referee for Sunday’s match. He is one of the best match referees in the world. He is highly experienced and he doesn’t hesitate in taking strong decisions on the field. I have hardly seen him making mistakes. I am sure he would handle Sunday’s game pretty well and would take fair decisions without getting carried away.”

PLAY ACTING COULD COST LIVES

Premier league referee Howard Webb has said that play-acting by the players could result in loss of life in many situations. Howard Webb was in charge of Tottenham’s match against Bolton in the FA Cup quarter-final a few months ago.

It was the match in which Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch after suffering a heart attack. Howard Webb, who refereed the 2010 FIFA World Cup final, has said that the play-acting done by the players in order to get bookings for the opposition can result in serious injuries taken lightly. Webb has quoted the incident surrounding Fabrice Muamba as a perfect example of this situation.

Play-acting has become extremely common even in the Premier league unlike in the past when the footballers committed this crime were frowned upon in England. However, this is certainly not the case in the last few seasons and play-acting has been on the rise. According to Howard Webb, it will give referees the chance to overlook even serious injuries thinking that the player might be play-acting. Howard Webb’s incredible reactions in the FA Cup quarter-final match helped save the life of Bolton midfielder Muamba. The midfielder lay unconscious on the pitch for 78 min before being rescued.

“If people cry wolf too often then there is a possibility we will not react as we need to do. If we come under criticism for stopping the game too many times for doctors or physios to enter the field of play then maybe referees will be inclined not to stop the game. I think the message we are trying to get across is that it is always better for referees to be safe rather than sorry. If he does stop the play, and it turns out to be nothing, it is not the referee’s fault because his priority is the players,” said Howard Webb.

MOYES BACKS WEBB

Everton manager David Moyes has said that referee Howard Webb is the right man to handle the match between Everton and Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final. David Moyes has been having the extra motivation to win the FA Cup this season, as he will be celebrating his decade in charge of Everton this season. They are unlikely to cause an upset in the league, which means that David Moyes has been prioritising the FA Cup for Everton this season. The Scotsman went close to winning the title with Everton a few seasons ago when they made it to the final of the competition only to be beaten by Chelsea.

In order to win this year’s competition, David Moyes has went to extraordinary lengths. He rested a number of first-team players in the match against Liverpool earlier in the season, which resulted in a 3-0 defeat for the team. He rested the players in order to concentrate on the weekend match against Sunderland in the FA Cup. The decision was justified a few days later after Everton manager to qualify for the FA Cup semifinals. Once again, it was Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final when the draw was made. The English FA also announced that referee Howard Webb will be in charge of the match.

“We will go with the referee on the day. We will trust his judgement. No doubt I will be shouting if things don’t go right but that’s what you do if you’re a manager. We are not arguing with the referees at Everton. We’ve had bad decisions here, and have had to take them on the chin. I’ve not made too big fuss of it. I’ve not called Mike Riley or spoke to him. We have to go with the integrity of the referee, which we will do,” said Moyes.

WEBB PRAISED FOR SPURS MATCH

Premier league referee Howard Webb has attracted the praise of many following his dealing of the Fabrice Muamba situation in the match against Tottenham recently.

Howard Webb was the referee for the match, which saw Bolton Wanderers taking on Tottenham in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. Just prior to the first half, Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch under no contact. He was later diagnosed with a cardiac arrest, which soon lead to his hospitalisation. The match was later abandoned after Howard Webb consulted with the managers and captains from both sides – Kevin Davies and Rafael van der Vaart.

Many have since applauded the decision by Howard Webb to abandon the match. When Fabrice Muamba was being taken to the hospital, the Tottenham crowd joined in the Bolton fans to sing the praise of the midfielder. Now, referee Howard Webb has said that the Tottenham crowd was extremely fantastic in helping him handle the situation. Howard Webb has said that the crowd had gone extremely quiet following the realisation of the seriousness of the problem. This helped the medics to provide the proper attention to Muamba. He also said that he decided to abandon the match after seeing some of the reactions from the players on seeing a player lifeless for about 70 minutes.

“My overriding memory is of the crowd reaction to it all when, suddenly, they all realised the seriousness of the situation. Firstly, they went very quiet. It was as if they all knew it was really serious. Then I could almost sense them encouraging him, and then willing someone to get a doctor. When the doctor arrived and started working on Fabrice, the crowd reaction was amazing, it was as if they were almost pushing with the doctor and willing him to get Fabrice’s heart going,” Howard Webb said in a recent interview.