Howard blows time on career as man in black

Howard Webb
Howard Webb

Top ref Howard Webb has given himself his marching orders – after hanging up his whistle on his illustrious 25-year career.

The 43-year-old, from Rotherham, has quit refereeing to become technical director of the body that oversees professional football officials.

His appointment comes just days after he resigned from South Yorkshire Police.

The Premier League’s top match official has refereed more than 500 Premier League and Football League fixtures since becoming a Select Group referee in 2003.

Howard has also officiated in eight international tournaments, including two World Cups and two European Championships, and in 2010 became the first referee to be appointed to the Champions League and World Cup finals in the same year.

His new role will see him become technical director of Professional Game Match Officials Limited.

Howard, who was awarded an MBE for services to football in 2011, said: “I am very excited to start this new chapter in my career after a wonderfully rewarding 25 years on the pitch.

“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 

“It’s an incredibly positive working environment and we all have a common goal of improving refereeing.”

The Premier League said his new role gives him responsibility for overseeing the technical direction and standards governing on-field match officials.

He will also take a public-facing role, informing and educating on refereeing matters.

Howard added: “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.”

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman confirmed Howard handed in his notice last week.