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Howard Webb’s PGMOL Revolutionising Premier League Refereeing

PGMOL’s Stance on Player Behaviour: A New Dawn Under Howard Webb?

The footballing world knows the story all too well – a clash on the pitch, a player’s protest, and the official’s struggle to maintain control. But as the Premier League embarks on another season, there seems to be a changing tide under the guidance of Howard Webb, the Chief Refereeing Officer for the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL).

Stepping Up the Game on Discipline

Under Webb’s leadership, the PGMOL is determined to clamp down on undesirable behaviour, with a notable increase in yellow cards being issued in the early matches of the EFL season.

Webb is resolute in his vision: “I am determined this won’t be something you only see during the next few days and weeks.” He’s addressing past oversights, stating that past behaviours that “might have been managed or ignored will no longer be managed or ignored.”

From Grassroots to Elites: Setting the Right Example

The impact of players and coaches’ actions resonates far beyond the elite leagues. PGMOL acknowledges the challenges faced by grassroots officials, and Webb feels there’s a pressing need to bring about change. By maintaining discipline at the top tier, the hope is that this ethos trickles down to the grassroots levels, especially where there is a dire need for more officials.

Time Wasting: What Do the Changes Mean?

The discourse around time-wasting has been significant lately. After the International Football Association Board (Ifab) unveiled its intention to ensure “fairer conditions” by adding exact timings for events during matches, a noticeable shift occurred. While many fans back this initiative, there are dissenting voices in the footballing community, most notably Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola.

Yet, Webb remains steadfast: “We have presented and laid out to a range of groups the way we are going to be applying this. People are aware of what is coming.”

The Role of VAR: Bringing Transparency

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system has often been under scrutiny since its inception. Webb hints at potential enhancements, including plans to make audio of VAR decisions public and to perhaps allow referees to explain VAR outcomes to stadium fans. He’s optimistic about semi-automated offside technology and ensures that the ball used, whether from Nike or Adidas, presents no issue.

PGMOL Welcomes Back Lee Mason

Lee Mason, having previously stepped down from his VAR duties after a controversial decision, is now set to return to the PGMOL. His comeback is as a coach for officials, with Webb praising his immense Premier League experience.

Webb concludes, “We’ve brought in quite a lot of coaches because we’re trying to reduce the ratio, so officials have much more contact with a coach at all levels of the game.”

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