Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Ref Webb suffers sleepless nights
It seems that referees are never far away from criticism whether it be from players, managers or football analysts for their role in deciding crucial incidents during games.

But here Premiership referee Howard Webb puts his side of the case and explains why constant condemnation is having a wider impact on football.

Howard Webb
Howard Webb
Premiership referee

Refereeing would be more appealing if people went into it with a feeling that they won't get castigated for every mistake they make.

It would also help if the media thought more about the way they approach refereeing issues and not be so willing to criticise.

It must put people off refereeing. People must look at us sometimes and think, 'I would never do that'.

We accept criticism and when we make a mistake we're there to be shot at.

The Premier League referees, like myself, are the top 17 in the country and we're involved in a multi-million pound business which is very important.

Howard Webb
I think we get on better with the players than most people give us credit for

Howard Webb

But people need to understand that we take our responsibilities very seriously.

If I make a mistake I can't sleep for a couple of nights. I've got home on a Saturday night, seen some things and thought, 'how could I have missed that?'

I'll analyse the performance on video and on the Prozone system we've got, then back through my mind and then talk to other people about it.

We have to make a split-second call from one position when you know there's going to be 16 or 17 cameras from different angles revealing your mistakes.

It's just something that you need to come to terms with.

That's the job we do and making mistakes is inevitable as long as you work hard to try and cut the mistakes out next time.

It's an absolute privilege to be involved in what I consider the best league in the world, be surrounded by the best players and the atmospheres at the games are fantastic.

There's a lot of pressure on you, it's not an easy way to earn a living but it's a good challenge and every time you go out there you've got to rise to that challenge.

Only 9% would consider being a sports official
56% said pressure of making wrong decisions would put them off being a referee
*1011 adults over 18 polled

I think we get on better with the players than most people give us credit for.

I did the Middlesbrough versus Chelsea game in August and during the handshakes at the start of the game there seemed to be a genuine amount of warmth and respect from the player's greetings.

There are isolated incidents which maybe taint that image and maybe people think it's a them and us situation, but it's not.

The players appreciate we've got a job to do.

George Boateng said to me once: "I like you as a referee, you're a good man but I know if I have to be booked, you'll book me - but that's okay."

If they accept that we're there to do a job, then the respect should be there.

And if some of the media accepts that mistakes will happen from time to time and don't castigate us so readily, then it might encourage more people to take up refereeing.

Want to be a football referee?
05 Sep 05 |  Get Involved
Why become a referee?
25 Aug 06 |  Get Involved


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us