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SBD Global/August 7, 2014/People and Pop Culture

English Football Referee Howard Webb Ends Career, Takes On Officials Role

English football referee HOWARD WEBB has ended his 25-year career "after being appointed technical director of the official referees' association," according to the BBC. Webb "has officiated 500 Premier League and Football League matches and the 2010 World Cup final." Webb said, "I am very excited to start this new chapter in my career" (BBC, 8/6). Webb will be responsible for overseeing the technical direction and standards that govern the on-field performance of Professional Game Match Officials Ltd.’s match officials. He will manage the PGMOL training program and coaching system and will work extensively on the successful development program 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 GM MIKE RILEY and join his management team (Premier League). FA Chair GREG DYKE said, "On behalf of the FA, I would like to pay tribute to Howard Webb for a magnificent and unrivalled refereeing career. Howard has taken charge of the biggest games going" (FA). In London, Teddy Cutler wrote any respectful retrospectives on his career "were quickly drowned" out by a sea of Internet memes, "many of which poked fun at the favouritism the part-time policeman has often been accused of holding towards Manchester United." The hashtag #HowardWebb "quickly began trending at the top of Twitter" -- but as you can see below, the plaudits "were rarely laudatory" (INDEPENDENT, 8/6).

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