Top referee tackles new coaching role

A LEADING Premier League football referee is launching a free coaching scheme for children after returning to his former job at a Yorkshire police force following a five-year sabbatical.

Referee Howard Webb

Howard Webb returned to South Yorkshire Police in April 2013 after a five-year career break which saw him referee the 2010 World Cup Final in South Africa and the Champions League Final in the same year.

The police sergeant is now leading a project team in South Yorkshire alongside the local Football Association and the county’s police and crime commissioner to provide free football coaching sessions for boys and girls aged ten to 19.

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The sessions run at Horizon Community College, Barnsley, Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park, Tinsley, Firth Park Academy, Sheffield, Dinnington Comprehensive, Rotherham and Sheffield Park Academy.

Mr Webb is contracted to work for South Yorkshire Police for ten hours per week and spends the majority of his time working to promote the SportFX South Yorkshire.

As part of his role he attends meetings with the school headteachers to request the use of facilities, promotes new sessions in assemblies and carries out motivational speeches for children.

He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity that South Yorkshire Police have provided me with here since returning back to work.

“I work for 10 hours per week predominantly on crime prevention and community engagement. The Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA funding became available and it seemed logical to bring together my contacts within my refereeing work and my police work.

“The reduced hours allow for me to continue with my work for the Professional Game Match Officials Limited and my senior officers and everyone at South Yorkshire Police have been extremely helpful in making my hours flexible so that I can continue with my commitments.”

Mr Webb, who first refereed in 1989, took a sabbatical from the police in 2008 to concentrate on refereeing.

Comment: Page 12.