World Football

PGMOL chief Howard Webb warned to stop referees officiating games in Saudi Arabia & UAE

Rajarshi ShuklaRajarshi Shukla
October 11 2023
PGMOL chief Howard Webb

Saudi Arabia are considering bringing top Premier League referees to Middle East

Howard Webb, the head of PGMOL, has been ordered to halt refereeing games in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates immediately.

In the past few weeks, Webb has had to contend with a series of mistakes made by his match referees. The largest occurred when Luis Diaz’s goal was incorrectly ruled for offside during Liverpool’s loss to Tottenham, without VAR Darren England reviewing the situation.

Later it was discovered that England and his VAR assistant Dan Cook had just two days before officiated in the United Arab Emirates. On Sunday, during the first half of Manchester City’s loss to Arsenal, Michael Oliver neglected to dismiss Mateo Kovacic, sparking additional criticism.

“Football relies on supporters having confidence in the integrity of the game’s decision-making. So, when there is an inevitable perception issue, as in this case, it is important that it is addressed.”

“We don’t want referees to be tired when they’re refereeing games and we don’t want there to be any perceptions of possible bias,” 

“PGMOL can confirm that we have carried out a review into the circumstances which led to the Luis Diaz goal being incorrectly disallowed for offside in the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC,” a statement read.

After making a terrible tackle on Declan Rice, many believed that Kovacic was fortunate to still be on the pitch. And once more, it was later discovered that Oliver had presided over a game in the United Arab Emirates only a few days previously, with the vice-president of the Middle Eastern state also serving as City’s owner.

Oliver’s performance on Sunday leaves no room for suspicion of prejudice, but Webb is currently facing calls to forbid his referees from working abroad. Those requests for Webb to intervene are coming from the Arsenal supporters’ trust.

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