The fall-out from Howard Webb’s refereeing performance during the Arsenal-Liverpool FA Cup fifth-round tie continues with the news that he has been removed from a website advertising his after-dinner speaking.
Webb had been told to focus on refereeing after missing what Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers described as a "blatant penalty" in Sunday's FA Cup clash at Arsenal.
The 2010 World Cup final referee and England's representative for Brazil 2014 awarded Liverpool a spot-kick in the second half but six minutes later did not give another when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain tripped Luis Suarez.
Had the penalty been awarded and converted, Liverpool would have had the momentum at 2-2, but instead they exited the FA Cup after a 2-1 loss to the Gunners.
His performance drew consternation on Twitter:
Howard Webb should be in massive trouble, Possibly the worst refereeing decision I've ever seen, Disgraceful, Better team lost
— Darren Farley (@DFImpressionist) February 16, 2014
Former Premier League official Mark Halsey also criticised Webb and advised him to give his full attentions to refereeing, rather than allow opportunities that come with his high profile to add to his workload.
Halsey told talkSPORT: "Howard has made an error of judgement. He has not had the best of seasons. He has not been the Howard Webb we all know.
"Perhaps he may need a little rest because he is perhaps doing too much.
"He is not just refereeing football matches, he is doing a lot of work outside of football. He is doing a lot of after-dinner speaking. Everyone wants Howard Webb because he was the World Cup (final) referee (in 2010).
"He has to take a good look at himself in the mirror and ask himself what he wants. This (refereeing) is his full-time job and he has got to concentrate on this.
"He has to forget about what he is doing outside of football. He has got to put that on the back-burner and concentrate on what he is being paid for full-time."
It appears that Webb may have taken action after the Daily Telegraph reported that Webb’s after-dinner services – which were available for the sum of between £2,000 and 4,000 - have been removed from agent’s website comedians.co.uk.
A word of caution must accompany that news though as the report goes on to state that while his profile has been removed from the website that he is still available for such engagements.
If Webb took this decision in the wake of Halsey’s comments, then that fact that he is still available for engagements could draw further criticism – particularly if his level of officiating does not improve.
PA / Eurosport
- Sports & Recreation
- Howard Webb