With VAR controversies dominating the conversation on Premier League match officiating, PGMOL chief Howard has further stretch the conversation with a new directive to referees.
Premier League match referees have come under intense pressure from teams, coaches, and players as VAR seemed to have outlived its usefulness on the field.
While the debate is still raging in rival camps whether the novelty football technology should be scrapped or not, Webb has opened a new chapter in the VAR debate with his new directive to match officials.
Apparently taking a stand against dissenting voices from players and coaches, Webb has asked match officials to clampdown on dissent as much as they could during matches.
He specifically encouraged the referees to penalise players who wave imaginary cards during matches.
In addition, Webb asked VAR officials to ensure a soft penalty on a player is reversed for a hard one if necessary.
During matches, center referees have been assisted by VAR officials to reverse wrong bookings. Some yellow cards have been rescinded for red cards and red cards rescinded for yellow cards.
In some circumstances, the bookings are totally withdrawn when a challenge is re-examined on the pitchside monitor.
Webb obviously seems unsettled with the more lenient but ‘inconsistent’ approach by referees and is asking them to be more tough on offenses while enlisting the support of VAR officials to that effect.
“There should be tougher penalties on dissent. Players who wave imaginary cards should be penalised and VAR officials should ensure no bookable offense is skipped in the course of the game,” Webb said in a meeting with Premier League officials at Loungborough base.
Howard Webb’s new directive comes ahead of resumption of Premier League action this weekend after November international break.
So far this season, Fulham are leading the chart of teams with the most penalised players. They have been booked 11 times.
Chelsea, Newcastle United, and West Ham United have players that have been booked more than any other player.
Sean Longstaff of Newcastle, Nicolas Jackson of Chelsea, and Lucas Paqueta of West Ham have all been booked three times already.
With Webb’s new directive, it is believed the number of bookings per game will skyrocket moving forward.