Webb 'calls on refs to CLAMP DOWN on players waving imaginary cards'

Refereeing chief Howard Webb ‘calls on officials to CLAMP DOWN on players waving imaginary yellow cards’ as Premier League looks to get to grips with dissent from stars

  • Mail Sport has launched a campaign to help stamp out abuse of match officials 
  • The FA has come out and publicly lent their support to Mail Sport’s campaign 
  • Have you witnessed abuse of referees? Contact [email protected]

Referees have reportedly been told to take a hard line with players waving imaginary yellow cards in their face as the game tries to get a grip with dissent. 

Mail Sport launched a campaign this week to rid the game of the horrific treatment meted out to referees, from grassroots football to the Premier League, and the FA has given their backing.

But there needs to be buy-in from players on the pitch and according to the Telegraph, referees’ chief Howard Webb wants to see stiff punishments for any player or manager seen waving imaginary cards to try and get an opponent cautioned.

There have been incidents this season where players have pretended to issue a card in front of a referee, and they have gone unpunished. 

One example was in Tottenham’s clash with Liverpool when Spurs defender Destiny Udogie, who had already been booked, escaped being sent off by referee Simon Hooper when he looked to fall foul of the imaginary card directive.

Referees have been told to take a firm stance on any player calling for a rival to be booked

Mail Sport has launched a campaign to stop the abuse of referees to help boost the game

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Other players have not been so lucky, with Liverpool midfielder Alexis Mac Allister among those players booked for the gesture this season.

Now Webb has reportedly stressed the importance of stamping it out of the game.

There has been an appetite from Webb, who was at the top of his game when he was a referee, to be more open an honest with transparency with referees’ decision making. 

But there is now an extended focus on giving officials greater levels of respect and that starts with reducing the amount of dissent. 

Mail Sport can reveal that Premier League clubs have been warned they face heftier fines and their managers more touchline bans by the FA as they desperately try to crack down on referee abuse. 

West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta has picked up three yellow cards this season for dissent


We want to hear from refs who have been abused – or parents who have witnessed atrocious behaviour on the touchline

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The FA and top referees group, the PGMOL, spelt out the tougher approach to the Premier League and EFL clubs last week. Further talks on the subject are also planned for next week.

Mikel Arteta’s outburst at St James’ Park earlier this month, in which he described Stuart Attwell’s decision to award Anthony Gordon’s winning goal for Newcastle as ’embarrassing’ and a ‘disgrace’, was raised at last week’s meeting, as was the club statement released by Arsenal the following day in which they backed their manager and called on the PGMOL to ‘urgently address the standard of officiating’ in the Premier League.

Arteta was charged with misconduct by the FA last week for using words that were ‘insulting towards match officials and/or detrimental to the game and/or bring the game into disrepute’ but Arsenal escaped without censure for endorsing the Spaniard’s comments.


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