Howard Webb, General Manager of the Professional Referee Organization (PRO), is set to become the first-ever Chief Refereeing Officer of England’s Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the organizations announced Wednesday.
The 51-year-old has been working in the United States and Canada for the past six years, having initially joined the Professional Referee Organisation as video review operations manager.
He went on to become the PRO’s general manager in January 2018, a role he will leave after overseeing the conclusion of the Major League Soccer season.
“It has been a great pleasure to be part of the Professional Referee Organization over the last six years,” Webb said in a release. “I have learned so much from my time working in North America that will serve me well in my new role, and I will miss interacting with the dedicated, enthusiastic, and talented officials and support staff at PRO.
“Over the last few years, we have seen a growing pool of officials achieve international recognition and participate commendably in the biggest tournaments in the world. This is a testament to the program led by the outstanding team here.”
Speaking with PA news agency, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final referee said ; am looking forward to taking up the role of chief refereeing officer for the PGMOL once I’ve completed my contract here at the end of this season in Major League Soccer.
“Great to be going home to a place I obviously know well and worked on the field for many years and looking forward to being a part of it.
“I will be managing the refereeing in the Premier League and the Football League, all the leagues that the PGMOL serves, ultimately looking to improve the standard of officiating, working with the team that’s there.
“There’s a lot of investment going into refereeing in England through the Elite Referee Development Plan and my role is part of that, so exciting times.
“Of course the game doesn’t get any easier. The playing standards get higher and the referees are expected to be better and better year on year wherever you are in the world and for sure in England, where there’s so much scrutiny and attention.
“So to be working in that kind of pressure environment for us, for people like me, is great and I am looking forward to being part of that.”
Webb remains the only referee to officiate both a UEFA Champions League Final and FIFA World Cup Final in the same year (2010). He oversaw more than 500 combined matches in the English Premier League and Football League during his 25-year career.