Howard Webb Retires

Howard Webb has ended his storied career as a professional referee.

This is not unexpected; he’s been setting the stage for this for the last year or so. He dropped hints here or there that he probably wouldn’t be back after the 2014 World Cup, and even went back to his job as a police officer part time starting last spring.

Now it’s official, and it’s no less sad.

The good news is Big Howard will not be going that far. He’s taken a position as Technical Director of PGMOL, the organization that oversees England’s match officials.

He will be “responsible for overseeing the technical direction and standards that govern on the on-field performance of PGMOL’s match officials,” the organization said in a statement.

Here’s Premier League’s official statement (accompanied by a very old photo).

I’ll have more to say about this in the coming days, but for me it’s the end of an era. It was Howard Webb who first turned me on to referees and what they bring to the game, and even though my thoughts on him as a referee became more realistic the more I learned, I never lost my admiration for him.

Godspeed, Howard. I wish you nothing but the best.

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  • I wonder what motivated this, as he still has his fitness and remains well respected, if no longer god-like.

    Also, years back I thought he’d said he would return to being a constable (or whatever position he held in law enforcement).

    I understand your connection with HW. We often refer to him in our ref classes: “Unless you’re Howard Webb, referees should not get involved in a confrontation.”

    I recall Jerry Markbreit from the NFL as one who led by example. He taught me the rules of that game when the refs got mic’d up. There are also some NBA refs who are great examples of how to be a ref.


    • He’s been doing it for 25 years and he’s accomplished everything a referee can. Fitness or not, it must have felt like time.

      These guys give up so much to be referees. The amount of travel is staggering and for guys at this level, there really is no “off season”.

      The summers are devoted to tournaments. His weekends are focused on matches. He travels to European games during the year, and when he doesn’t he travels all over England doing ambassadorial work, He has to devote hours to keeping his fitness up and training.

      He has a wife and three young kids. Maybe he just wanted to be home with them and work a normal schedule, take holidays, spend Christmas at home, etc…


  • I’m sure the FIFA referee retirement age (45) played into the decision.


  • Pingback: The Hotties: Jenna’s Top Five Dreamiest English Refs | PLAY THE ADVANTAGE

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