Webb helps to inspire Respect at St. George's Park event

Thursday 27 Nov 2014
Howard Webb was at St. George's Park on Thursday
Former Premier League and World Cup Final referee Howard Webb believes The FA’s Respect campaign continues to help improve the game in England.

Webb was at St. George’s Park on Thursday to speak to County FA representatives from across the country at the Respect Lead Officers Support Day.

And the PGMO Technical Director was joined by current Premier League referee Jon Moss to deliver an inspiring presentation to those at the meeting, which was set up by The FA for the counties to share their ideas and best practice methods.

Howard Webb

Webb believes Respect is helping the game in England

Rotherham-based Webb spoke about how the levels of respect shown to officials at the highest level of the game right through to grassroots have changed for the better and how he has seen it across the spectrum of his career.

"When I first started refereeing in 1989, I went along with a friend called Matthew who took the first basic course with me," revealed Webb.

"But in his second game, he was smacked in the face by a player and he decided that was the end of his refereeing career.

"That could have been me and sometimes I’ve come home from a game, thrown my bag into the corner and wanted to leave it there, which is what Matthew did.

"But I didn’t, and when I look back to matches such as the World Cup Final and Champions League Final, I always think about how the game has made massive strides since then."

He continued: "Incidents such as the Manchester United players harassing Andy D’Urso at Old Trafford in 1999 after he correctly awarded a penalty to Middlesbrough, or Paulo Di Canio pushing Paul Alcock, they just don’t happen anymore."

Howard Webb

Webb says the game has made 'massive strides'

Representatives present at the national football centre also heard from FA Respect Award winners Peter Malady of Bengeo Tigers, Graham Parkes of Longfleet FC, Peter Thornton from the East Lancs Alliance League and Gavin Hoare of the Kent County League on how they’ve helped spread the message at grassroots level.

And speaking about the event, The FA’s Respect Manager Dermot Collins said: "We host these events twice a year and what we try to do is identify good practice and develop new resources. But we also look to inspire new people to go out and do a difficult job.

"We’ve never lived in a perfect world in football and there are dark days when we come across serious incidents which do challenge whether we’re having an impact.

"So to have someone like Howard Webb, a very good referee who got to the very top of the game over the last 20 or 30 years, talk definitively about an improvement in behaviour and working relationships with players is superb."

Collins added: "He can talk about suffering a setback and then going back and trying to do the right thing and establish a culture.

"That’s inspirational for people and that gives them the energy and commitment to go out and work hard with their clubs and leagues and communicate this important message."

For more details on The FA’s Respect campaign, click here.

By Nicholas Veevers at St. George's Park