New report says 12 recently-retired footballers to become referees in 'fast-track scheme'

New report says 12 recently-retired footballers to become referees in 'fast-track scheme'

Howard Webb wants to recruit a dozen recently-retired footballers who have expressed an interest in becoming an official, according to a new report.

A handful of high profile errors, including the "significant human error" from September's clash between Liverpool and Spurs, have dominated headlines in recent months.

PGMOL's role in maintaining the integrity and fairness of the sport has been questioned as a result, but former Premier League referee Webb is keen on improving matters.

In fact, the 52-year-old wants to help increase confidence in his officials by bringing in a 'cohort' of current and recently-retired players, says The Sun.

The report suggests a process will be put in place by Webb and PGMOL that allows the recently-retired players to take a "short-cut" and avoid taking the normal route.

Webb, who was put in charge of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited group in 2022, believes having these figures in and around the body will improve the perception of referees.

Earlier this year, former top flight referee Graham Poll backed the idea of bringing in ex-players to officiate games as they "understand the game better."

“I always say if there were 20 ex-Premier League footballers who wanted to become referees and do the job better than me, I’d be more than happy to step down a level and say go on then because it’s about the match being refereed well," he told CasinosEnLigne.

"It’s a fact that an ex-player who played at the top level understands the game better than a referee no matter how much they might have studied the game.

"If you accept that then equally how can former players openly criticise referees when they’ve never refereed. It works both ways."
Poll added: "Would players respect refs more if they were paid more? You’d have to ask a player that. I was taunted with ‘how much do you get paid’ by millionaire players.

"But you can’t pay refs millions because we’re not here to watch refs, they’re just here to facilitate a game of football.

"I think if you’ve refereed for 10 or 12 years in the Premier League you shouldn’t be scratching around to earn a living once you’ve stepped down, that’s for sure."

It was confirmed on Tuesday that The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has approved proposed trials for the introduction of sin bins to top level football.
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